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August 5, 2009

Shatner Does Palin

My husband found this very funny clip well worth viewing.

May 14, 2009

Twisters?

Here is an amazing story about identity that I read about in this morning's NYTs.

April 30, 2009

A Former Student

I got a letter today from a former 6th grade student of mine from the Vientiane International School (VIS) – a school I taught at for two years in the mid-90s in Vientiane, Laos. Out of all the places I’ve lived, Laos was one of my favorites because of its unspoiled beauty – evident in both the landscape and the people. I had an amazingly challenging 6th grade class due to the dizzying array of performance levels – reading levels ranged, for example, from 1st grade to 12th grade. This former student who recently contacted me has stayed in touch over the years to let me know about her progress and growth. About 2 years ago, she graduated from Stanford and is now teaching 5th and 6th grade composition. She is also considering MFA programs in Creative Writing for the coming Fall – having been accepted to several programs throughout the country. She is a remarkable young woman and the connection means a lot to me. I am amazed that she has kept in touch with me for so long.

I didn't even know that the school had a website until now. After visiting the website, I also learned that they continued to publish a school paper, Dragon Tales, that I started with the same 6th grade class this former student of mine was in; I have a copy of the very first edition. I even remember the school-wide vote to select the name. I wonder if my former 6th grade student knows the newspaper her 6th grade class started lives on today? This picture of the school below doesn't quite capture the surrounding beauty.

VIS panorama2.png

April 27, 2009

The Hype About Skype

It has taken Skype to get me to write another blog entry after several dormant weeks. Since hearing about Skype from my un-official co-advisor/mentor last summer, I have thought about downloading it yet never managed to do it. Yesterday, however, I was at a good friend’s house -- she was using Windows Live Messenger (WLM) to make some video calls. Inspired by my friend, I finally decided to download Skype (WLM is already on my Mac – as well as a built-in camera). We received our first Skype call and talked with my husband’s family. What a blast! I wasn't sure I would like it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to connecting with others via Skype or WLM. It also provided a nice diversion from my work. I finally get all the hype about Skype (and WLM). What’s next? Facebook? Twitter? I’ve been resistant to both, but who knows what the next diversion will bring.

March 13, 2009

Hope & Fear

My good and dear friend sent an essay from the March 2009 issue of the Shambhala Sun, “The Place Beyond Hope and Fear,” by Margaret Wheatley – at a time when I find myself marinating in the space between hope and fear.

Here are excerpts from the essay that really resonated with me:

“The present moment is the only place of clear seeing unclouded by hope or fear. The nineteenth-century Tibetan master Patrul Rinpoche stated this perfectly: “Don’t prolong the past, don’t invite the future, don’t be deceived by appearances, just dwell in present awareness.” Of course, trying to be present when everything around you is crashing down is not easy, but then, nothing is these days. It takes enormous effort and discipline to keep recalling ourselves back to the present moment…”

“Yet only in the present moment, free from hope and fear, do we receive the gifts of clarity and resolve.”

© 2008 by Margaret Wheatley

February 27, 2009

Hope & The Fragility of Life

Nearly one month later, hope lives on in more personal aspects of my life. We recently had a family emergency that reminds you of the fragility of life. Fortunately it was only a scare; it reminds you not only of hope, but also of life's priorities.

January 16, 2009

1988 and 2009: The Hudson River and Kowloon Bay

There are some eerie similarities between yesterday’s US Airways plane crash and a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) plane crash on August 31, 1988 in Hong Kong (en route from Guangzhou). Although the circumstances of the two crashes are different (e.g. the 1988 CAAC plane crash happened upon landing; there were 7 casualties, etc.), the visual images of the actual crash in this video are eerily similar. Looking at the CNN video transports me back into history: mute the sound and it is as if I were looking at Kowloon Bay rather than the Hudson River. Regardless of similarities and/or differences, both are miracles.

January 6, 2009

Ordering from the Seniors' Menu by 2012?

We recently went out to breakfast with some friends who were in town over the holidays when we realized that some members of our family (no names mentioned) will have the privilege of ordering off the seniors' menu by the year 2012. How can we calmly ring in 2009 when more exciting things are coming our way in a mere three years? Whoever said, "60 is the new 40" hasn't updated menus in the Twin Cities area -this particular menu counts seniors as 55 years and up.

Happy New Year!

November 26, 2008

Wanted: Missing Data

tbrn215l.jpg

I haven’t written in some time because I’ve spent the past few months in a little bungalow on Missing Data Lane. When this project started, I was only vaguely acquainted with Missing Data (M.D.), but now we are practically BFF’s. Being more of an introvert, I hadn’t sought M.D. out. Over the past few months, however, we have become well acquainted. One night, I woke up and remembered a dream I had about M.D.’s second cousin, once removed. M.D.'s cousin, R, who dummy codes information in a matrix. Anyway, M.D. has recently disappeared and I have been thinking about posting “wanted" signs to relocate M.D. To help facilitate M.D.’s safe return home, I thought about posting M.D.’s image on milk cartons, with a brief description of M.D. and M.D.’s last known whereabouts. I’m just distraught over M.D.’s recent disappearance and hope M.D. resurfaces before the end of the month.

October 18, 2008

Tribosphere 4

We just heard some very sad news this morning that Shadow, one of the four cats in the tribe we cared for this past spring/summer, has been missing since Wednesday. We all want to help look for him and yet he is thousands of miles away. My daughter is still strongly attached to the tribe. Each night before bed, she includes them in her "sweet thoughts." She made a paper cell phone about one month ago and receives regular "cell phone" messages from all four of them - Pookie, Shadow, Sadie, and McKenzie.

About two weeks ago, she declared Election Day as "National Cat Day" - in honor of President Pookie. For Halloween this year, she decided she wants to be Pookie (so I am busy trying to convert an old grey Heffalump costume that her auntie made her into a cat costume). Although she was probably most attached to Sadie and Pookie, interestingly enough, Shadow "called" her most frequently on her "cell phone." In an odd way, I suppose they became part of our "family." We all hope Shadow has a safe return home. I, for one, have a special place in my heart for him. In short, it appears the Tribosphere is still very much a part of us - and we a part of it.

October 7, 2008

Rebooting, Part II

Rebooting is usually an isolated technological event: a system shuts down and is rebooted by an individual. I have learned over the last few weeks, however, that “rebooting" is not an individual experience but a community one. To really get a system “up and running," we need a network of individuals to build a community of support around the “system" to help provide “technological" advice on rebooting. Think about it: If we simply reboot as individuals without consulting others in the community, the “computer issue" will likely rear its ugly head at another given time since it hasn’t been properly attended to. Thus, by individually “rebooting" as an isolated system, we are only putting a “band-aid" on the technological issue.

Those who have assisted this particular “system" in the rebooting process know who they are. I am grateful for my “tech" support over the past few weeks of questioning the “system."

You laugh, make me laugh.
You listen, make me listen.
You ask, make me ask.
You guide, make me guide.
You give, make me give.

Thank you, all.

September 12, 2008

Rebooting…

A woman interviewed on NPR the other day (I wish I could remember her name and/or the program) used a “rebooting" analogy to talk about what we should do when we are totally stressed out: shut down and reboot.