Monday, January 28, 2008


"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."~Howard Zinn

The Bible says the Kingdom of God is within you. Zen Buddhist Cheri Huber teaches that "Believing we are separate (in Christian terms, believing we are out of the presence of God) is the source of our desperate desire to control life. Trying to control life–hold on to this, get rid of that–is the cause of suffering." The Prophet Momhammad has said "My self [meaning 'my ego' (nafs)] has become a muslim" [meaning one who has submitted to God Most High]. Islam literarlly means submission. Buddhism insists that all beings have "Buddha-nature", a nature of wisdom and virtue. A Sikh hymn begins There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; immanent in all things; creator of all things; immanent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace." Poet Adam Zagajewski tells us to try to "praise the mutilated world."

I am trying to say something about creativity, hope, and spirituality, and how the three can, and should, be intertwined. Whatever Higher Power you may ascribe to, that is the Great Creator. I read in Julia Campbell's The Artist's Way that when we are creative it is a reflection of the Great Creator, and so is a holy thing to do. Art can be a way to cope, but also a way to offer solutions, actions, hope. But we can't do it of our own accord. Almost every quality writer, and may other types of artists, I have spoken with say that they are just following the story, or the poem, or the characters, or the music, or whatever...where it needs to go. It's almost an act of channeling when it's really working. So much Truth can be told in a made up way. Why do we let subtle differences divide us when we should all be working for the same purpose? I have decided to be more accepting of myself. I've decided to surrender and let the work manifest itself in me. I have decided that I am ready to risk losing what I currently have.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Most Durable Power in the World

I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. Love is the most durable power in the world.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Weather Almanac in Pictures

For some reason on the warmest day this winter and also on what felt like the coldest thus far, I decided to go for a walk. Now the warm day, most people can understand. The cold one, well I later met two others who went for a walk or bike ride that day just for pleasure and not to get anywhere, but on my walk, I didn't see anyone else who wasn't out there for necessity. According to historical weather data, the warm day January 8, 2008, was in fact the record warmest temperature for that date. Coming in at 69 degrees F, it beat the previous record holder by 3 degrees and 71 years (1937).
The pictures from Jan 8 are from Allegheny Commons and outside the Children's Museum in the North Side, and downtown.

The cold day was well below the average for that day, January 20th, 2008, but didn't get the record.

Jan 20 08 actual minimum temp: 5 F/ =15 C, Average min for Jan 20s: 19 F/ -7 C Record min for Jan 20s: -18 F/ -27 C in 1985. Hopefully I will be smart enough not to go out if it gets that cold this year!
The pictures from that day are from the old St. Nicholas R.C. Croatian Church. It was build in 1900-01, and closed in 2004. The Mary statue remains, but there were spaces where others used to be and I think they got rid of some of the stained glass and murals. Still interested architecture to look at, though.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's Uncanny!

Okay, so I've been slacking about updating the blog. I've taken lots of lots of Pittsburgh pictures, I just have been dreading sitting thru the arduous process of exporting, uploading, organizing....but I will put them up soon. They are pictures of extremes- one batch from the warmest day we've had this winter so far, and one from what appears to be the coldest thus far.
In the meantime, chew on this. Apparently this X needs Google Game is all the rage these days. I had to skip over other listings and just wrote out the actual headline ones, not the compilations. So here's how it works. You type your name followed by the word needs in google in quotes and see what comes up. So mine was "Sarah needs" and here are the top 30 results:

Sarah needs:
1. Sarah needs a cold shower, self-esteem
2. Sarah needs to kick him in the nuts (You know who you are...)
3. Sarah needs your manly vote
4. Sarah needs you.
5. Sarah needs a video channel.
6. Sarah needs to make a cake and some cookies
7. Sarah needs adopted- time is up tomorrow afternoon.
8. Sarah needs a life
9. Sarah needs to lean on her man.
10. Sarah (the chinchilla) needs a family
11. Sarah needs to get her life back and establish herself as the person in charge.
12. Formerly Feral Sarah needs a Forever Home
13. Sarah needs batteries
14. Sarah needs a good cuddle
15. Sarah needs more love lyrics
16. Sarah needs to cut down on the overtime!
17. Sarah needs a break
18. Sarah needs Nat and her computing skills to survive and find whatever she needs to keep ahead of her faceless pursueers.
19. Sarah needs some more lovin
20. Sarah needs to respond to a student inquiry regarding the latest assignment
21. Sarah needs a reality check, as well.
22. Sarah needs the help of the notorious Captain Jamie Kerrick.
23. Sarah needs someone with a mature, hardened presence.
24. Sarah needs a root canal.
25. Sarah needs a story about Tina One Life to Live
26. Sarah needs to be hooked up to a respirator in order to survive.
27. Sarah needs someone who can escort her from port to port.
28. Sarah needs special glasses.
29. Sarah needs advice on setting up a wider wheel base.
30. Sarah needs a better agent.

How DID they know all these things about me? Especially number 18. I mean, who knows that? And obviously number 30 refers to a "special agent" Maybe his name is Capt Jamie. But notoriety is a warning signal to stay away. If i had more lovin' maybe I wouldn't need a cold shower. and I am now on the look out for a man to kick in the nuts (numbers 2 and 9 combo). Oh well, I'm sure once I have my special glasses, setting the wider wheel base will be no problem. Now if only I could breathe easier.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First Night Pittsburgh Parade

Yes, it really did look this trippy in person...

How Helpless We've Become

If the commercial media is any indication, we have become quite helpless as a society. The marketing is now oriented to product that can make everything so much easier that the product actually does the most simple things for you. So either they think the consumer is helpless or lazy....

Case in Point #1: a toothbrush that beeps to tell you when you're done brushing. well, i do lose count...???? also tells you if you're brushing too hard. the line: "helps you achieve the dental-recommended 2 minutes"

Case in Point #2: kitty litter that changes colors when it's time to change it...good for those with no sense of smell or depth perception...???? the line: "see odor before you can smell it!"