August 15, 2005

I am.....

This woman is amazing.

I hope I learn what she has learned someday soon.

Other People's Words 03:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 31, 2005

why smart people defend bad ideas

Speaking of smart things other people have said, I just read this article on why smart people defend bad ideas. Very interesting to those who are plagued by the intelligentia whose fast talk and condescending arguments win arguments more frequently than reason and clarity of thought. I have dealt with many of these people in my day and believe deeply that many of us in society have been taught that might makes right, that the person with the best sounding words and the most confidence is right. This goes hand in hand with my belief that people often mistake curmudgeonliness and condescension with intelligence and discernment. After all, doesn't it sound like you know what you are talking about when you pooh-pooh someone else's obviously flawed logic? Yes, I am being snarky there.

Illegitimi non corborundum, after all.

Other People's Words 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

power of action

I found this on and wanted to share it here. It's a message I really needed to see right at the moment I saw it. I have asked who wrote it, and as soon as I find out I will credit them here.

Power Of Action
Avoiding Stagnation
Many people believe their journeys are taking them to some end where their lives will reach a plateau. They envision their days being similar in nature, with few upsets or alterations. But they have forgotten that change and action are vital parts of existence - steps that at times inspire us gently and, at other times, goads us on roughly. To stagnate is to turn your self into your own roadblock. It can bring your personal growth to a halt. It is possible to forget that your choices, actions, and ability to create are the keys to your happiness and fulfillment. When faced with a negative situation, it can seem easier to stay put and not rock the boat. And when settled into a positive situation, making new choices and starting new projects can feel like too much effort.

But everyone needs mental motion to continue to grow, and that requires that you keep taking action. Letting yourself fall into a slump can lead to depression and leave you wondering why you were once excited about life. If you begin to feel that you're stagnating in a job, a situation, a relationship, or even a mental state, ask yourself what choices you can make to help yourself move on. Or, if you are in a satisfying place in your life, what activities you can do or projects you can undertake to spice up your mindset. Remind yourself that when one project or phase of life has been completed, it's only natural to begin the next. Likewise, don't get caught up in believing that your life has truly reached a standstill. There is always some choice or action, however small or seemingly insignificant, that will help you to abolish your roadblock and move ahead.

Stagnation can always be avoided, no matter what your situation, by trying something new. While casting off the burden of an unsatisfying job may be too drastic a change, learning to rock climb or tap dance, enjoying a new style of cuisine, or becoming involved in a hobby are all means to push forward, to continue learning and growing, and to walk the most enlightening path.

Other People's Words 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2005

the beauty of aging gracefully

I found this on at a time I really needed to read it. I hope it makes it to you who need to read it too.


I was at a wedding Saturday with a lot of women in their 20s and 30s in sexy dresses, their youthful skin aglow. And even though I was 20 or 30 years older, a little worse for wear, a little tired and overwhelmed by the loud music, I was smiling.

I smiled with a secret Cheshire-cat smile of pleasure and relief in being older-49 and change, which even I would have to admit is no longer extremely late youth. But I would not give you back a year of life lived.

Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life-it gave me me. It provided the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life. I fit into me now-mostly. I have an organic life finally, not the one people imagined for me or tried to get me to have or the life someone else might celebrate as a successful one-I have the life I dreamed of. I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I could be. There are parts I don't love-until a few years ago, I had no idea that you could get cellulite on your stomach- but I not only get along with me most of the time now, I am militantly and maternally on my own side.

Left to my own devices, would I trade this for firm thighs, fewer wrinkles, a better memory?

On some days. That's why it's such a blessing I'm not left to my own devices. Because the truth is I have amazing friends and a deep faith in God, to whom I can turn. I have a cool kid, a sweet boyfriend, darling pets. I've learned to pay attention to life, and to listen. I'd give up all this for a flatter belly? Are you crazy?

I still have terrible moments when I despair about my body. But they are just moments- I used to have years when I believed I would be more beautiful if I jiggled less; if all parts of my body stopped moving when I did. But I believe two things now that I didn't at 30. When we get to heaven, we will discover that the appearance of our butts and skin was 127th on the list of what mattered on this earth. And I know the truth that lam not going to live forever, and this has set me free. Eleven years ago, when my friend Pammy was dying at the age of 37 we went shopping at Macy's. She was in a wheelchair, with a wig and three weeks to live. I tried on a short dress and came out to model it for Pammy. I asked if she thought it made me look big in the thighs, and she said, so kindly, "Annie? You just don't have that kind of time."

I live by this story.

I am thrilled-thrilled-ish-for every gray hair and achy muscle, because of all the friends who didn't make it, who died too young of AIDS and breast cancer. And much of the stuff I used to worry about has subsided-what other people think of me and of how l am living my life. I give these things the big shrug. Mostly. Or at least, eventually. It's a huge relief.

I became more successful in my mid-40s, but this pales compared to the other gifts of this decade-how kind to myself I have become, what a wonderful, tender wife I am to myself, what a loving companion. I get myself tubs of hot salty water at the end of the day in which to soak my tired feet. I run interference for myself when I am working, like the wife of a great artist would: "No, I'm sorry, she can't come. She's working hard these days and needs a lot of downtime." I live by the truth that No is a complete sentence. I rest as a spiritual act.

I have grown up enough to develop radical acceptance. I insist on the right to swim in warm water at every opportunity, no matter how cold, no matter how young and gorgeous the other people on the beach are. I don't think that if I live to be 80 I'll wish I'd spent more hours in the gym or kept my house a lot cleaner. I think I'm going to wish I had swum more unashamedly, made more mistakes, spaced out more, rested. On the day I die, I want to have had dessert. So this informs howl live now.

I have survived so much loss, as all of us have by our 40th-my parents, dear friends. my pets. Rubble is the ground on which our deepest friendships are built. If you haven't already, you will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of a beloved person. But this is also the good news. They live forever, in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a leg that never heals perfectly-that still hurts when the weather is cold-but you learn to dance with the limp. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships.

I danced alone for a couple of years, and came to believe I might not ever have a passionate romantic relationship-might end up alone! I'd been so terrified of this my whole life. But I'd rather never be in a couple or never get laid again than to be in a toxic relationship. I spent a few years celibate. It was lovely, and it was sometimes lonely. I had surrendered;

I'd run out of bullets. But I learned to be the person I wished I'd meet-at which point I found a kind, artistic, handsome man. we have been together 20 months now, when we get out of bed, we hold our lower backs, like Walter Brennan, and we smile.

Younger women worry that their memories will begin to go. And you know what? They will. Menopause has not increased my focus and retention as much as I'd been hoping. But a lot is better off missed. A lot is better not gotten around to.

I know many of the women at the wedding fear getting older, and I wish I could gather them together again and give them my word of honor that every one of my friends loves being older, loves being in her 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. My Aunt Gertrud is 85 and leaves us behind in the dust when we hike. Look, my feet hurt some mornings, and my body is less forgiving when I exercise more than I'm used to. But I love my life more, and me more. I'm so much juicier. And, like that old saying goes, it's not that I think less of myself, but that I think of myself less often. And that feels like heaven to me

Other People's Words 08:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005

I'd like a little social commentary with my knitting, please

Note that I have added two new quotes on the left, cribbed from Bohemian Mama, now added to the blogroll on the right. I can't believe I didn't find this site sooner, as she and I read a lot of the same blogs!

On the knitting front, I finished my dimsum cat toy (I made the won ton) and just need to stuff it. It turned out bigger than I would like, so the next one will be smaller. I'll take pictures soon.

Knitting, Other People's Words, Weblogs 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 23, 2004

What is True in This Moment?

Honesty can be cultivated by transforming your inner language. For example, you might think: "I am no good" or "They are not good." Is this true? For some strange reason, people want to wallow in the idea of being either the best or the worst. What is true in this moment? How close can we get to the reality of our experiences?

-Martine Batchelor, "Meditation For Life"

Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A,

Other People's Words 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

surrender your impressions

We plant merit with our minds, and we commit crimes with our minds. With our minds, we imprint images. This one mind is like an artist. It can draw anything, and what it draws is realized. If you surrender your impressions, ideas, thoughts, and so on at the moment they arise without imprinting them on your mind, your minds will not be tainted, just as the lotus flower is not tainted by the muddy water whence it grows.

-Jae Woong Kim, "Polishing The Diamond"

Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A,

Other People's Words 08:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 28, 2004

peace and dialogue

In light of recent posts and comments, this seemed appropos.

Peace and Dialogue

It is my belief that whereas the twentieth century has been a century of war and untold suffering, the twenty-first century should be one of peace and dialogue. As the continued advances in information technology make our world a truly global village, I believe there will come a time when war and armed conflict will be considered an outdated and obsolete method of settling differences among nations and communities.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

From "The Pocket Dalai Lama," edited by Mary Craig, 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

Other People's Words 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

because I just don't stir the pot up enough, it seems

This is a piece written by the distinguished man of letters and novelist E.L. Doctorow. It first appeared in the September 9th issue of the East Hampton Star.

Let me state as a disclaimer that I do not believe GW doesn't care or doesn't feel. I think he does. I post this here, rather, to show what one man's belief about this administration is, and to say that I have seen his beliefs echoed in the words and actions of people all across the United States. He shows us the fear that many people, myself included, have at times for the future of our home and how it is perceived. If nothing else, I wish W's staff would look at things like this and wonder why people have this perception. Perhaps if they did anything to change that perception, people wouldn't be up in arms so much.

But maybe I am really glad they don't. An angry nation is a progressive nation.


I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty one year olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear. But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it.

He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be. They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life.... they come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not
regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he
did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to. Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is notcontrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel. But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it. But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time. But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of
mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble. Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we
sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn
but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow

Other People's Words 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004

more words about this day

Our lovely Bakerina talks about this day so eloquently, go read what she has written.

Other People's Words 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack