Thursday, December 09, 2010

To Cheer You Up

Wow. Watch his instinctive anticipation of the music.

Friday, December 03, 2010

This Christmas...

...please consider giving to Metropolitan Homelessness Project.

You can do this directly through my fundraising page at:


Monday, November 01, 2010

"Mercy and Truth have met together. Righteousness and Bliss shall kiss one another.

Man, and his weakness and shortsightedness, believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But, no! Our choice is of no importance.

There comes a time when your eyes are opened. And we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions.

And, lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected.

For Mercy and Truth are met together.
And Righteousness and Bliss shall kiss one another."
(My favorite monologue from favorite film, Babette's Feast, which uses passages from Psalm 85.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Annual BBQ

Metropolitan Homelessness Project hosts its Annual BBQ this Saturday, Oct. 16, from 4:30-7:30!

Both Squash Blossom Boys and West Side Drum Circle will provide music. A silent auction of over $2,000 worth of local restaurant coupons will be part of the festivities, as well as a visit by the Animal Humane Society, accompanied by some loving dogs. (They are partnering with us to bring therapy dogs to the shelter this winter.)

Tickets are $20. You can pay at the door, or call 344-2323 to buy in advance.

If you can't come--and still want to support our work to end homelessness--please give online.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flash Mobs

These are so cool and fun! I love the way they get everyone smiling and laughing.


A higher level of rehearsal (used in an advertisement)...


Frozen flash mobs:


There are Ninja and Pirates and Pillow Fights...all stuff that creates a happening for people to connect and play together!

Have fun creating yours...and send me a video when you do it!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sitting in morning fog, surrounded by a porch laden with plant life and sipping some wonderful hot tea. Typing on a friend's I-Pad (which I think I really like). A humming bird is making rounds as another tries to impress with intricate displays of winged flight maneuvers and delicate vocalisations. I've taken the time to delete over 100 emails in my yahoo account...only 600 more to go!

I love the moisture in the air and the sight of the ocean. Dined last evevning at The Beach House, designed by artist John Hubbel, and watched surfers enjoy the tide as we ate deliciously fresh seafood. This is wonderful break from the desert.

I may have discovered my personal balance of environments: ocean, cloudy and cool with dry and severe desert...live in one and vacation frequently in the other. I see why that, while living in Boston, I loved vacationing in NM. Now that I live in NM, vacations in oceanic regions are perfect destinations!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I am eagerly awaiting some vacation time. Though I've a had a few days off here and there, my last full block of time was Christmas. I am ready.

This Thursday, I have a meeting at City Hall followed by two hypnotherapy sessions. Then I fly to San Diego for five days. When I get back to The Blue Goose, friends from Brooklyn will arrive and stay until the following Sunday. Ten consecutive days off. What a concept!

This past weekend was filled with a trip to a farmer's market--it is chili season!!! Then to a Chili Festival, a hypnotherapy session, and an art auction/fund-raiser. Sunday was a full day at church, helping to facilitate some ongoing discussions. Had a friend over for a good, long conversation and then ended the day watching "American Outrage." The latter is sobering and sad. Anyone who has ever felt anger over how countries treat their native peoples need look no further than our own backyard.

One quiet day in 2002 (and continuing since), the government began making sweeps of Western Shoshone property in Nevada. By helicopter, semi-trailer and other government vehicles, the U.S.A. rustled cattle and horses off the land, sometimes even driving them to death through barbed-wire fencing, and laid claim to private farms. Why?

A: On the even quieter day before, the government discovered that there was gold in the soil of this native land. Faster than you can say "gold earrings," the first nation people were told that the Ruby Valley Treaty, signed by the U.S.A. government in 1863, was no longer valid. The rationale given for this was based upon a Papal decree in 1452. The "Doctrine of Discovery" says that any land not Christian at the time of "discovery", becomes the property of the Christian nation which makes the discovery.

"Oh, you're not Christian?" Well, then, that's mine."

What a twisted and warped view of Christian mission. Perhaps it is not surprising, though, since we describe military operations as "missions." I recently glanced through some Facebook photos of an acquaintance of mine. They were of him and his army comrades poring over maps. "Planning the Mission" was the caption. Another photo of troops in the woods, with shouldered guns and on the lookout, was titled, "Preparing for the Mission."

"Oh," I sadly reflected to myself. "I see that he has become a missionary."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

“…why are you here?”

“I often ask myself the same. The answer always comes: because I’m not somewhere else. Which is a statement more sensible than it sounds. And isn’t it a marvel? Here I am and here are you; think of it! When you ponder the breadth of the galaxy, you must recognize a coincidence of great singularity!”

“…Suppose you were here and I elsewhere, or I were here and you elsewhere, or both of us were elsewhere: three cases vastly more probable than the fourth, which is the fact of our mutual presence within ten feet of each other. I repeat, a miraculous concatenation! And to think that some hold the Age of Wonders to be past and gone!”
Emphyrio, by Jack Vance


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do you, too, have a doppelganger? I met mine today. He didn’t repulse me so much as he did fascinate me.

I had expected a yang to my yin, or white to black, something startling…or something, well, at least my opposite. Surprisingly, the doppelganger was more of my twin. Same smile. Same laugh. Same self.

Only with more exposed.

Like an ear of corn with husks drawn down. Kernels—good and bad—exposed to the same sun. Some kernels plump and full of juicy corn milk. Beautiful, yellow and sweet. Some, however, riddled with rust or punctured by still present and writhing worms. Some withered and dry and some underdeveloped. All of these, the repulsive among the maturely developed, all part of the same ear of corn.

Unlike me, the doppelganger had not taken the time to draw up his husks, using bits of silken hair to hide flawed, balding spots. He was neither fully evil, nor fully good, but was rather both. Like me. Only exposed and accepting of it all.

As I wind my way through the local farmer’s market, I pause by the corn bin, just in from a southern farm. I am about to join the ritual of those surrounding the bin, of slightly peeling back cornhusks, peeking to select only the best to accept and take home. About to, when in a chance glimpse across the vegetable stand, I see him. My doppelganger. He smiles, knowingly. I reach back into the bin and select a half dozen ears of corn without checking their perfection. I smile back. To myself.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Recognition

Recognition can be laborious. Hints of truth linger in my waking mind and fight against desires to turn back over to sleep. When truth wins out and I rise from my mattress on the floor, the struggle is not over. How much easier to move to the couch for a few more blissful moments! Until I have no choice and time forces me to prepare and leave for work. But…

But, when I awake and do pull on shorts and helmet and take my bike out for a spin in the freshly crisp morning air, truth hits me square between the eyes. Morning sunrays find their way down over the Sandias to filter between leaves into my north valley and bronze my skin. I return rejuvenated.

Morning patterns turn into creative actions, satisfying and complete. Meaningful. Juicing yesterday’s cucumber, reading poetry by a Santa Fe woman I’ve never met, written to Thomas Merton, whom she never met. Connections are made. Threads weave themselves together, emotions form into ideas. I find myself writing. I juice some more. The sight of the peach jam I’ve canned from the gifts of neighbors pleases me. I plan to invite friends over this evening to share a good bottle of wine. To share in this earthy life. I can’t help but write.

I decide to put a kettle of water on the stove. While it heats to a boil, I select some fine Chinese tea. Perfect for a cool morning of reflection, writing, listening to Navajo prayers sung from my CD player. A good day to take my writing utensils, paper, some Sumi ink and ride with my artist’s bag to the river. Somewhere under the boughs of an achingly beautiful, large Cottonwood, I will sit and open up life’s secrets. A treasure will be revealed to me.

If not, no loss. It will be a good day of being comfortable in my own skin. Of absorbing nature. I might even visit the museum or botanical garden and, in silent reverence, enjoy the company of strangers passing by, enjoying too the beauty which surrounds us.

However, from the moment of needing to write onward, the day is but a fantasy of my mind. It is a weekday. Time has forced me to lumber towards work instead of following flowing, creative juices.

Oh, don’t pity me. I have the option every day of getting up early to allow for more of the experience that I’ve described. And, again, every day in which work does not call or demand attention. I recognize that I can shape my mornings, my days, my evenings and nights quite differently. But recognition comes hard.



Different 45 patterns used for pattern recognition.
(Veraart, C., et al. "Pattern Recognition with the Optic Nerve Visual Prosthesis."
Artificial Organs 27.11 (2003): 996-1004)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I picked my first home-grown cucumber of the season this morning. All of my plants are potted this year, so what I harvest now is on the miniature side of things. A burgundy-red tomato, its soft sphere the size of a half dollar. Chilies of an ornamental nature. They are extensions of my own time spent nurturing the soil and small plants with water, care and concern. The small acts are intimate, the harvest satisfying, the eating sensual.

Why do I forget this? My recent malaise seems to stem from lack of contact with the earth. Too much time spent behind a computer screen, sitting in meetings, reading, napping. Nothing that a little honest sweat doesn’t heal.

“Nothing can o’er take me in life that time alone in nature won’t restore,” wrote Frost, or something along those lines. Poetry somehow escapes me even when its meaning retains a place in my soul.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I'm still not a searchable subject in Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This video clip is about Denver's Road Home. It does a good job of exposing prejudices that many of us have.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Here in my little corner of the world, one way we are attempting to combat the economy is through micro-loans made to each other. Not just micro-lending in other countries (we are doing that through KIVA), but also to our local businesses.

Check out my quote in the article, "Loyal Customers Infuse New Mexico Tea Co. with Green."

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

This illustrates why demand is high for the type of work that I do (provide emergency shelter), while at the same time financial support is way down.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

  • Imagine trying to get a job without a phone number to give to your potential employer.
  • How do medical providers contact you, if you don't have voice mail?
  • Without voice mail, how does a potential landlord reach you? Medical providers? Social workers?
  • How do you re-connect with family?
NM Community Voice Mail is the solution. We're attempting to get free voice mail service to everyone who needs it!
    It is one of four programs that I oversee as Executive Director of Metropolitan Homelessness Project. And it is a huge success!

    Just call 505-340-3004, and press option 4 to hear the recorded experiences by our users.

    Please click on "NM Community Voice Mail" to provide someone a vital phone number for one year!
    Thank you to everyone who helped our Duke City Sleep Out have real impact. Because of you, 26 men were able to stay in our shelter for one month. Eleven of these men ended their homelessness during their stay. THANK YOU!

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Third straight day of overcast skies and rain. Wonderful!!!

    Last Thursday and Friday I had planned for a weekend of hiking. Since that seemed to bring much-needed showers, I should have made those plans a couple of weeks ago!

    I still managed to drive west just to see the view. A semi-trailer had overturned at the Sky City roundabout. Having exited there, it was not possible to return eastward from that point. Instead, I drove towards Acoma to enjoy the long way home. The Pueblo was closed to traffic and non-pueblo folks. So, I returned the twelve miles back to the roundabout, headed west again until there was a way to get turned around.

    I kind of like the idea of modern land being unnavigable by car.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Step by Step

    My legs move a lot.

    The thought occurred to me as I retraced my steps through the kitchen back to my bedroom. I had just walked the half dozen or so steps from bedroom to kitchen, on my way to walk through the main room, out the door to my car. But, I had forgotten my keys.

    My mind wandered during the short distance, as it often does. It wondered, while traversing the short distance, "Just how many steps does it take to move through a day?"

    To get out the door to my car--after all the other little journeys I take in the morning: to the sink; to the bathroom; to the shower; back; to the closet; to the bathroom; to the bedroom; to the kitchen; to retrieve the stack of papers and books from the shelf--it takes 23 steps. I'm not doing anything during those 23 steps. I'm just getting to where it is that I plan to do something (get into the car, in this example).

    The times when I make it all the way to the car before realizing that I have left my car keys in the bedroom, it is 69 steps--to, back and the return--from the point of intention, of leaving my bedroom to get to the car, to the point of actually doing what it is that I intended to do.

    This happens all day long. Not necessarily the forgetting and starting again. But the traversing of short and longer distances between where I am and where I need to be to engage in any desired task. In fact, I imagine that a greater portion of my time in life is spent doing just that. Getting from where I am to where i want to be to do what I want to do.

    So that leaves me thinking. About presence of being, of intentionality and of contentment in the moments that are. It is not only the inspiring moment of desire, nor the attainment of destination, that should capture my attention. It is more often the getting there that occupies my time. Indeed, the activity, the action actually involved between where I've been and where I'm going in life, might be the better part of my life. Why not enjoy it? Why not be present in it?

    Noticing the process itself. The gradual progress being made. How fascinating is the movement of now. Step by step.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    The wind was blowing strong today. It blew up small tornados of dust from my yard and whirled them past the clothesline, around the adobe doghouse and then up and over the fence into my neighbor's yard.

    That got me thinking about our comedic and absurd notion of owning land. How does one actually own land, and what does it mean, anyway!?

    Perhaps the idea that I actually own some land myself strikes me strongly because I spent so many years walking across land that was never mine (nor did it always occur to me that it might "be somebody's"). I own a house. I get that. That I also own land is hard for me to get my mind around.

    Do I own the bits of dust and dirt that just blew over the fence? Should I go ask my neighbor to return it? If I toss a stone from my yard into the road, is it still mine? Can I scatter bits of "my" land around the globe and still claim ownership?

    "Do you own some land?'

    "Oh, yeah. I own land in three different states and two countries."

    "Really? Wow!"

    "Yeah. I've left handfuls of dirt from my home in all five places."

    And what about when I dig a hole in the ground where I live and "own the land?" Do I now own the space that is the hole? How far down do I own the land on which I live?

    What odd and humorous concepts. Not so humorous for the guy whose organic corn field neighbored a field owned by Mansanto.

    Woody Guthrie probably had it about right in his song, "This Land is Your Land." The song doesn't go, "This land is your land. That land is my land." He used "this land" for both you and me.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    It's Morning...again

    I find that I tend to be a repetitive creature. Oh, I like spontaneity and most of my friends know that I'm always up for something new. But, when the exciting, challenging and somewhat obscure experiences aren't readily available, I fall into patterns of behavior.

    Like coming home from work, fixing a drink, some chips and salsa and sitting in the back yard while reading. I enjoy that routine. In fact, that has steadily become my regular course of activity over the past months. Really pleasant and pleasurable. And it has bred lethargy and inertia. The less I do physically, the less physical activity I want to do.

    When I was a child, I could stay indoors all day and just read. I read so much that my mother, wanting me to get outside, allowed a compromise: if I would at least go sit on the swing, then I could continue reading.

    Now, as an adult, I can sit at my desk all day at work, and then come home only to sit more, reading. That's when repetition creeps in. I sit and read, awake and repeat. My body breaks down and doesn't want to do anything physical. Invitations to do things appear more like obligations crowding in on my "down" time. Yes, I am very busy in my work and my time is demanding. So coming home to a good book, chips and salsa is very appealing.

    I'm making some concerted effort to shake it up a little. Well, shake me up really. Stretches in the morning. A bicycle ride. A long walk. Little by little, new patterns of behavior emerge and older, better and healthier habits return.

    At least for this one morning. :)

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Maybe it's the mention of the Dropkick Murphy's and Flogging Molly that raised the remembrance. I don't know if the Flogging Molly band is from Boston or not. Or, maybe it's that I'm watching "The Departed," which begins its story in Boston. Or, maybe it's just because I'm drinking tea this morning. For whatever reason, I'm thinking of Mrs. Cardullo.

    Cardullo's store, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cardullo, sits near the newspaper stand in Harvard Square. Frank Cardullo, 3rd generation, was my tea supplier when I served as Cellarer during my monk years at The Society of St. John Evangelist.

    "I can get you tea cheaper than anyone else in Boston. Just don't ask me how," stated the younger Cardullo, who was near to me in age. I stocked our cellar with tea and didn't ask.

    What I am remembering today is those classic checkout times when I went to pay Mrs. Cardullo.

    "God bless you, brother," Mrs. Cardullo would say. Then she would scoop up a generous handful of hard candy, drop the candies into the bag and say, "You brothers say a prayer for me." I was younger then, about 24 or so, and think that I did not realize what a role in long-standing tradition I was playing, the monk being asked to remember to God the local Italian grocer.

    That tradition is certainly long-lived enough in itself. But, an Italian, Catholic mother giving a junior monk candy in exchange for possible redemption...? It might not get any more traditional than that.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Still Gives Me Chills

    A friend of mine disagrees with Neil Young when he says that no one in music is doing protest music anymore. He points to the Dropkick Murphy's as an example of modern-day protest music of a generation younger than Neil. The Dropkick Murphy's formed in 1996 in Quincy, MA, just south of Boston while I was living there. They are broadly informed about working class rights and causes, even using Woody Guthrie lyrics in their music.

    Here is classical and inspiring civil rights music. My favorite. Nina Simone! WARNING: the second song "Strange Fruit" is hard to view. But it does get at exposing the heart of the evil.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    Mid-Week

    I'm obviously messing around with the format of my blog. Let me know what you think/prefer/don't like.

    Today is a day of miscellaneous: planning our fall BBQ, billing for hypnosis clients, interviewing someone from my church, getting an estimate for re-roofing my home, posting a couple of jobs, clearing off my shelter office...and, hopefully, some more reading to finish the book "Drood."

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Quinlan Ranch

    Had a great weekend at a 17,000 acre ranch in northern NM. Quinlan Ranch is a high-end elk hunting lodge. We didn't hunt. I did hike to some spectacular views and spotted a bear with her two cubs!

    Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Camping

    I'm headed north and west in NM to camp for the weekend. I am so glad to be taking a break and to be in the wilderness.

    Talk/post with you next week!

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Wrong Turn

    Okay, so I detoured a bit from posting here. Will attempt to get back on track with some writing this week.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Article on Self-Care

    I was interviewed about my work in homeless services. Atypically, and fortunately, it veered away from statistics and became more about things that may be helpful in maintaining perspective.

    Those of you who read this blog regularly will recognize my quoting A Man, about whom I've posted in the past.

    Click here to read the article.

    Monday, May 24, 2010


    The winds continued to pick up from Saturday's blustery day, doubling their speed on Sunday. Still blowing today.

    I awoke early and took down my chimes that were thrashing wildly about in the wind. When I lay back down, I could still hear them! It was sort of an auditory afterimage, like when you can't get a song out of your head. Only what was really cool was that their sound remained random and arbitrary in my mind, just as if they were still being buffeted at the whim of the outside wind.

    Interesting. At least to me.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    I had an unusual experience during sleep last night. I dreamt the same dream, back-to-back, from two different perspectives. Both were disturbing.

    In the first version, I was on the couch with a lion that had been my childhood companion. But something had gone terribly wrong. He held my foot in his mouth and had become wild again. He was ready to snap through skin and bone to rip my foot free of my ankle. I dared not move.

    If I moved, the foot was gone, and with this loss--although it held the potential of escape--I risked a full on attack. If I remained motionless, I risked the lion eventually deciding to completely devour me with painstaking and shredding agony. However, not moving also held the possibility that something would happen to save both my life and limb.

    Someone did intervene with a strong sedative shot to the lion. I escaped into my bedroom, locking the door, petrified as the lion regained consciousness. I was keenly in touch with strong and conflicting emotions of love for my lifelong companion and the fear of painful death. I positioned myself midway in the framework of my open window ready to leap out if the lion stayed indoors to hunt me, and ready to withdraw inside, locking the window, if the lion ventured outside to find me.

    Then the dream repeated. I was in a restaurant, in line to eat. The line wrapped around a large glass room containing a chimpanzee on display. Inside with the chimpanzee was a small boy whose foot was clamped viscously between the bared teeth of the chimpanzee. Again, the scenario played: wrench free and lose a foot? or, maintain stillness hoping for intervention--but increasing the odds of losing all?

    CHOICES
    Moving: may find escape, definite loss of foot. Life still at risk of being fully devoured.
    Not moving: may find full escape. High risk of entire life being devoured.

    I posted the following on Facebook the day before my dream: "Spent the day being non-active, which is not the same thing as being inactive. Being non-active requires actively not acting. Inaction is simply not doing things." I wasn't really sure what I meant at the time. I'm still not sure. But the dream seems to point to something similar.

    Action is typically my modus operandi. I detest apathy (even while admittedly finding it laced throughout my own life). Sometimes, too, I simply enjoy not doing anything. But this is something different. Actively not acting. It is a meditation. It is focusing on not focusing. Sitting. Still. Waiting....until the Other breaks through and full freedom is gained.

    I wasn't successful at doing that on this particular day, and I'm not certain how the dreams turned out. But I recognize the need for--and beauty of--intentional awareness, of being, not doing. Sitting in the tension of being poised between life and death, loss and gain. In the uncertainty.

    And savoring the moment of experience.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    On Deck

    Yesterday, my day of non-action (Facebook friends will know the reference), I bought some books to read. Upcoming titles include, "The Book of Lost Things," "The ESP Enigma," "Bicycle Diaries," "American Rust" and "Jesus." That should keep me busy for awhile.

    Hope to learn what you are reading on goodreads.com!

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    I went to church this morning, as I have been doing more consistently over the past few Sundays. Not because I want to, so much as because it seems to be good for me. No, I don't think it makes me a better person. At least not in the sense of "chalk one up for good acts" by going to church.

    But good for me in the sense that I feel, well, yeah, that I am better for going. Call it childhood guilt, perhaps. But it does seem to make a difference.

    I think that it has something to do with the direction of the Eucharist. Most often, I think of the Eucharist as something that is coming to me. God, Incarnate, infusing my self with God's self. Bread and wine taken in. Reuniting me with my Source of being.

    Lately, after reading a little article on the Eucharist at Corinth (sorry, don't have reference handy), I'm sensing these particular sacraments as moving from me towards God. Reconnecting and giving of myself to God and the Body of Christ. I don't have a lot of words for it, really. But it seems important and I'm glad that I went this morning.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    NM IV

    You might be living in an adobe home if pulling weeds on the property includes the roof of your house.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Exceeded my fundraising goal by $250. Thanks, everyone!

    NM III

    Grocery store security are approaching man who has just vomited on the glass doors of the beer coolers. Customer shrugs off the officers, takes off his shirt and says, "No, no. I'll help clean it up," as he begins to wipe the glass with his shirt.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    NM II

    Cashier at grocery store hollers over at customer, "Where've you been?" Customer relies, showing off a plastic wristband, "Just got out of jail! They dropped me off at 4 AM this morning." He is putting money into the lottery ticket machine.

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010

    One Last Push

    I'm still hoping to raise $825 for this Friday's Duke City Sleep Out. I will be sleeping out to raise awareness and funds to end homelessness.

    Thank you for considering making a donation. Click on this link: http://www.firstgiving.com/dennisplummer

    And, please forward this on to a few friends! Together, we can make a difference.

    Thank you.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    So Human

    3 feeders with 11 spigots.
    2 hummingbirds.

    They are still fighting over control of the food supply.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Favorite Quote of the Week

    Had medical students presenting cases from the week. Favorite quote was a woman who describing rounding at our shelter respite beds.
    "We had nothing, but brains and good will."

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Although I've started watering my office plant, it is still turning yellow out of habit.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Main Bathroom

    Harder to capture the change in this room, but you can at least get the color difference.


    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    I am learning from Abraham Lincoln’s example, related through Doris Kearns Goodwin's wonderful book “Team of Rivals,” that it is always wise to bathe a rebuttal to those with whom you disagree in compliments.

    As A Man used to say, one should always begin a response with, “You could be right.”

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    And I just bought one of those curly lights... :(
    (Thanks, Odette!)

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    My friend is back. Sitting on fence outside my bathroom.


    If I had worked hard enough, I probably could have a full 9-square layout of this guy looking at himself, Brady Bunch style!



    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    The Best of Tea...& Social Media

    This is David, the guy I buy my tea from. He has a great sense for how to use social media, good editing skills...and he knows his tea. You can check out his store and other videos at The NM Tea Co.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    Act now!



    If you can't sleep out,
    you can still help end homelessness
    by sponsoring me as I sleep out.

    Click here!


    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Very funny! How can you not enjoy "The Candy Man" song?

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Tile


    My first try at tiling. This is in the kitchen. Yes, there is no grout yet.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    I'm going outside

    Men like Ted are still sleeping and dying in the streets. In an effort to continue providing services that will house Ted and others, I need your support.

    On Friday, May 7th, I will be sleeping outside to raise awareness and money. Please consider contributing to our efforts by donating online at my page , or by creating your own fundraising page and joining us that evening. It is a great evening with live music (“Squash Blossom Boys”) and often men from the shelter where I work and families who use our voice mail program join us.

    Feel free to forward this post to as many of your friends, too. More awareness + more money = less homelessness!

    Your money helps to keep open:
    • an emergency shelter;
    • a veterans' transitional housing program;
    • a 24-hour respite care;
    • and a program that offers women and youth access to jobs and housing through voice mail!

    Your donation goes a long, long way. Thank you!



    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Carpet

    Adding a little touch of the southwest to my brick floors.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Ever had one of those "just perfect" mornings? The morning you wake up and everything is in sync? I had one of those this morning.

    I awoke before my alarm went off. Stretched and felt great. Good shower. Liked the form my hair had chosen for the day (I never really shape it; it does itself; plus, I don't own a comb). Clothes felt casually sharp. And I was ready, without rushing, to walk to church early enough to sit for a few minutes in silent meditation before the service began.

    Then, as I reached to turn off my radio (playing peaceful classical, of course, on a morning like this), I heard a reminder that Day Light Savings had kicked in unbeknownst to me while I lie sleeping and unsuspecting. I was an hour late for church.

    So now I am changed into grungier clothing and sitting at work, trying to catch up on some pressing deadlines. One never knows the twists and turns a day will take.

    Image: Sam Brown.

    Monday, March 08, 2010

    Lent. It’s an odd sort of season, one which I can never predict how it will go.

    Typically, I take on a good intention of some sort, rather than giving up something. I will decide to volunteer for some project, or will increase my daily meditation time, or will adopt a particularly meaningful book to study, rather than give up the stereotypical chocolate for forty days. It’s something that I look forward to and when this time rolls around each year I am glad. Glad for the quieting. Glad for the reflection. Glad to thaw the winter’s ice of my heart and soul that inevitably builds up in the course of the other 325 days.

    What is interesting, of course, is that one doesn’t know how the ground will look with the snow blown away. What unknown seed have taken root? What will begin to grow? Anything?

    I began Lent this year with the good intention that I will only do things that I would be fine with everyone seeing or knowing what I was doing. That seemed fair and challenging enough. But the ground has shifted with the spring thaw. I now have in me the question of, “What do I want?”

    (Image by: Levan Mindiashvili.)

    What do I really want? Not like a trip to Japan, or a better physique, or growth in my job. But who am I exactly that I want what it is that I want? Maybe that is the deeper question, one which I doubt I can answer head-on. Nor do I particularly feel the need to have words for who am I. But I can at least be in touch with what I want.

    In the monastery we called part of this a “Rule of Life.” It was sort of play book which, knowing the goal, you could draw upon for guidance in life. We each have one. They just aren’t always spelled out and bound in a book. (By the way, my good friend Charles Lafond is working on a book about having one’s own rule of life. I’ll keep you posted as to when it comes out.)

    From time to time, they change, those little rules of our for life. As we change, our desires shift.

    So I’m looking around right now What has shifted? What do I want? What do I really want?

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Thoughts, Part VI

    Is that it, then? Unification through elimination? Keep chipping away at our selves, like Sybil wheedling down multiple personalities, until the real one me is left standing? After all, it is true that I cannot simultaneously live the life of a deconstructive angry self while also being a highly successful achiever full of inner peace. Also, like mixing lots of brilliant colors together results in a murky grey-brown, a composite of all of the me’s tends toward mediocrity and blandness. Or, at best, a me that is ill-focused, never fully present and not quite coherent.

    Compartmentalized self? Compromised self? Are these the two options? Surely not, for nothing is ever quite so dichotomized as first appearances often suggest. Then what are the nuances? What is the filament that binds together the “the you which you have just left in one place and the you which you will be when you get to the other place”? Who is the me in between and does the distance between the me I was and the me I will be actually exist?

    I’m not sure about all of this. But it does get you thinking and wandering about, doesn’t it?

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Thoughts, Part V

    I suppose that I should take a philosophical stance about it, acknowledge that all are facets of me, a unified yet complex being, just like all other human beings when faced with the fact of being. Or that I should take the higher theological road, simply accept God’s hand in it all and that I shall know only in part until that time when I shall know even as I am known.

    But that isn’t really it, is it? That doesn’t get at the fact that if I did “have a family reunion” for all the me’s “with barbecue under the trees”, there would be one hell of a family feud and some one or other would end up getting killed.

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    Thoughts, Part IV

    This is about those two you’s, the ones to which earlier I said we’d return. I visit mine often.

    I say that I visit mine, but it is more like they visit me. Usually uninvited. And it is not only two me’s that I encounter, but more like many me’s with many nuances. I aim to be courteous to others, but the angry me emerges. My contemplative me arrives and I set about meditating, sitting quietly by the fire, sipping tea. The telephone rings and my social me responds, trades tea for vodka and goes to an all-night party. The judgmental me (or is it wise? I shall likely never know.) awakes and sets about listing regrets accrued the night before.

    I am attracted to the man who says, “Come with me. Let us live off of the land together in a distant mountain cabin,” and equally attracted to the other who says, “Nothing is of consequence” and the other who claims, “It is good and right to prosper.”

    I like my house clean and orderly, filled with beauty and fine art. I like letting everything lie where dropped, dirty dishes piled up and the beauty of care-free, devil-may-care clutter. By equal turns, I want to lead and follow. I like to achieve. I enjoy detachment. Risk invigorates me. I want to be safe. And so on and so on and so the two, the many me’s clamor for light of day. To be known and heard. To live and breathe.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Thoughts, Part III

    Morning. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror. Shaving water left over in the sink basin trickles down the drain as I inspect the me that stares back at me from the polished glass. This is a different experience every morning.

    Sometimes a hint of recognition flickers faint in the reflective eyes, briefly, then vanishes. Sometimes there is full connection of identity between the two staring figures, seamless and seemingly endless, even if one is a reversed opposite of the other. Sometimes, and these are the most disturbing, there is total lack of unity.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Thoughts, Part II

    Who are my two you’s, the one which I left yesterday in the grocery store at the checkout counter where I paid the clerk for my box of crackers, and the one that will be me when I next emerge from my home or when someone stops by for a visit? These are the two you’s in relation to others that do what I do and, they say, are me being what I am. We’ll come back to them another day.

    For now, is not the small crocus which has emerged early from its winter’s sleep, though alone in the woods, still in relation to me? Though distant, it is a relation, just as you and I are in relation to distant galaxies as yet unknown to us.

    And you and I are in relation to each other just now through these words that I write and that you will not read for perhaps another few days. Through communication of thought translated into words on paper and translated into meaning after the shapes of black ink lines commute through your eyes, over optic nerves and into the understanding that you give it. Thus are we in relation. Even when lying alone in bed as it rains in Lent.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Thoughts in Lent

    I lie prone in bed on the first Monday in Lent, nursing a strained back on a heated pad. I’m thinking about Narcissus and Goldman, who are good folks to think about when lying in bed on your back in Lent.

    It is a passage from “All the King’s Men” (Robert Penn Warren) that got me to thinking along the lines my mind is now traveling:
    “There is nothing more alone than being in a car at night in the rain. I was in the car. And I was glad of it. Between one point on the map and another point on the map, there was the being alone in the car in the rain. They say that you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren’t any other people there wouldn’t be any you because what you do, which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people. That is a very comforting thought when you are in the car in the rain at night alone, for then you aren’t you, and not being you or anything, you can really lie back and get some rest. It is a vacation from being you. There is only the flow of the motor under your foot spinning that frail thread of sound out of its metal gut like a spider, that filament, that nexus, which isn’t really there, between the you which you have just left in one place and the you which you will be when you get to the other place.

    “You ought to invite those two you’s to the same party, some time. Or you might have a family reunion for all the you’s with barbecue under the trees. It would be amusing to know what they would say to each other.

    “But meanwhile, there isn’t either one of them, and I am in the car in the rain at night.”

    Narcissus and Goldman. Two you’s; one person. It is Lent and so I am thinking. Reflecting and introspecting as to who I am and what journey I am taking. Alone. In the rain. In the night.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Blue Goose Update

    Side room, facing north, before:


    After (orange is on west side of room, purple on east):



    Same room, facing south, before:


    After:

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    I'm glad that Lent begins this week. In fact, I awoke today and realized that I am already in route for this quiet, reflective journey of 40 days.

    We sang our last 'Allelulia' at church on Sunday. Now, we turn towards a more somber time, a time of considering our inner selves, our place in relation to creation and how we choose to live our lives. It is a good season.

    Like autumn that becomes winter that becomes spring, then summer and autumn again, the church calendar cycles through this Lenten time to approach new life at Easter. It will return again next year. A circle of life recognized by all cultures in all times, but one has to connect with one of the cycles to experience the benefit.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010


    Trying to revise my budget by cutting $70,000 out of expected revenue. The poor economy has hit individual donors and foundations that we rely on for shelter funds.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Just a Thought

    Since our military is promoted as being highly trained, focused and among the elite, shouldn't they be capable of working professionally alongside openly gay persons like the rest of us do every day?

    Monday, February 08, 2010

    Ofrenda

    I'm beginning to install a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead altar, called an "ofrenda" that I plan to clean, update and add traditional foods in the corner annually on the Day of the Dead.



    Friday, February 05, 2010

    The Blue Goose Hosts

    I heard this sound echoing down my chimney this morning. Upon investigation, I found our state bird resting contentedly atop The Blue Goose. His/her voice was loud and clear throughout my home!



    You can watch a 20 second clip below from YouTube that shows a Greater Road Runner making its fascinating clacking sound. (However, what I heard was the sound you'll hear in the hotlink above, which is a recording that is hard to find online. Instead, you typically get the dove cooing sound that a road runner also makes.)


    Wednesday, February 03, 2010

    San Pasqual is considered the patron saint of cooks and kitchens. You may have noticed his image hanging in my kitchen in yesterday's posting.

    A real Franciscan friar, San Pasqual (or Saint Pachal) was named for the feast day on which he was born: Pentecost, which is also known as the "Pasch of the Holy Spirit". Pasch, or Paschal, means "Passover" and refers to a time in Jewish history when the angel of death passed over houses in Egypt (the final of ten plagues before the Israelites began their exodus). The firstborn of families were spared in those homes whose doors were stained with the blood of a Passover Lamb. The meal has become a significant feast day in the Christian calendar, and is often referred to as The Passover Feast.

    Hence, Saint Pascal--San Pasqual--presides favorably over feasts and food.

    It is quite informative to get a sense of how Spanish Catholicism mixed with native cultures as it spread itself throughout Mexico and into what later became territories of the United States. To begin, one need only to trace names of modern tribes. The pueblo of the San Pasqual tribe is the one surviving pueblo of three that were formed around San Diego and San Luis Rey missions to resettle displaced Kumeyaaya in the mid-1800s.