Thoughts: One Tree

Friends Only [Mostly]

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This journal is (mostly) friends only. If you would like to be added to my friends list, please a comment on this post. It would be nice if you'd include a little about why you think we'd get on well if I don't already know you. The content of my journal will be mostly of a personal nature, although I do sometimes make posts related to current events or random things that I find which amuse me.

If you don't comment here, then I shall assume you're just here to read my public posts.

I am currently participating in therealljidol.
Thoughts: One Tree

Everything Looks Like a Nail

“What in the unholy underworld are you doing?”

A youthful blonde turned the mechanical eye of her cell phone to Flora. “We aren’t going to let you destroy this magnificent oak!”

Flora blinked.

“It’s almost three hundred years old, you know. That’s, like, older than America, man.” A young man joined in, a sinister cartoon fly agaric staring from his shirt.

“I know!” Flora had finally stopped blinking. “I planted it, myself!”

The blonde rolled her eyes from behind the camera. “Sure you did, boomer. God! Your generation really will claim credit for everything.”

The crowd surrounding the tree all laughed a harsh snort.

By now, Flora had had a chance to read some of the placards the crowd was holding. There is no planet B. Make love, not CO2. I speak for the trees. Each one was written on glossy white poster board, which was attached to smooth, wooden dowel. It seemed that the crowd was concerned about the well-being of her oak, but she still couldn’t figure out why. “Please, if you’ll just make a little room, I’ll finish my work and be on my way.”

The crowd drew in, tightening the human circle around the tree trunk. The blonde who was recording on her cell phone stood to the side, and spoke again. “I overheard you, yesterday, saying that you planned to harvest the oak today. But we aren’t going to let you. Too many trees have already been ripped from the earth. You can’t have this one!”

“But I’m not ripping it from the earth. I just need to…” Flora’s voice was drowned out as the crowd took up a passionately off-key rendition of We Shall Overcome. She was beyond exasperated, now. This was supposed to be a quiet, productive morning. She didn’t have time for this nonsense--she had orders to fill.

Flora could hear Tofty’s voice in her head, urging her to be patient with the Nufolk. Tofty was always telling her reason will prevail, and we must guide the young until they understand. Flora sighed and let her saw fall to the ground.

The crowd around the tree cheered. The blonde ring leader turned the cell phone camera to herself. “And that’s how it’s done!” Everyone was so busy congratulating themselves on a successful protest, that no one had noticed the slender, engraved stick of oak that had slid down from within Flora’s sleeve. Nor did they hear the incantation she recited.

“Much better,” Flora muttered to herself. She picked up her saw, stepped gingerly around the mushrooms now surrounding the tree, and harvested the desired branch.

As she dragged the tree limb back to her workshop, Flora imagined what Tofty was going to say. Probably some tripe about how you can’t use magic to solve all of your problems. She smiled back at the Tofty in her head. Not all of them, but quite a few. And she thought that perhaps, while they were working on fulfilling the big wand order that had come in, Tofty could tell her why the Nufolk called her a “boomer.”
Thoughts: One Tree


When I was a precocious teenager attending nerd camp, with other teenagers who were just as gifted and weird as me, my friends and I decided that tacking "yo mama" onto pretty much any sentence was hilarious. Mind you, we didn't actually like to insult each others' mothers. No, we did it ironically. That's right, apparently I was a 16-year-old hipster in 1996.

Two years later our sense of humor hadn't changed much.

That summer my mom drove to New Jersey to visit family. Boring! Instead of going with her, I got dropped off in Putnam County, New York so I could spend the week with my friend Rob. This lead to an impromptu reunion with some of our old camp pals. We'd been planning to see Erika, since she lived really close to him (by Maine standards, at least). Then we discovered our friend Hikory was on a cross-country Greyhound trip--and had a transfer in New York City the next day. Talk about cosmic timing. We decided that Dave should be there, too. He could catch the train from Philadelphia the next morning and we'd meet him in the city when we picked up Hikory. His presence would make things exponentially more awesome.

We called Dave.

"I can't come. That thing I thought was poison ivy is actually Lyme disease. I have to go to the doctor tomorrow."

"Pshaw. Whatever, Dave. You've already had it for weeks, what's another couple days gonna matter?"

"I could get lockjaw. If they don't treat me soon, I might miss the start of college. Sorry."


As luck would have it, the Lyme disease could be treated with antibiotics. Dave decided to take the train to chill with us after all. He would arrive in Irvington that evening.

The train station sat next to a little park along the Hudson River. The sun was at such an angle that we no longer had to worry about getting sunburned. A gentle breeze came in from the water. It was a perfect July evening. Rob, Erika, Hikory and I sat on a bench and watched ant-sized cars drift across the Tappan Zee Bridge. We made comments that I don't remember--but I'm sure they were deep, poetic and philosophical. We waited for Dave.

Then Hikory started talking about general relativity. It had been a year since I studied Physics, but some of the foundation knowledge had managed to lodge itself in the nooks and crannies of my gray matter. He picked up a stick from the ground and drew in the dirt. Sometimes he wrote out equations, too. Eventually, he sketched a diagram of a black hole--one of the classic examples used for explaining general relativity. Shit was getting profound. Here I was, surrounded by lush greenery and chirping crickets, learning astrophysics from a long-haired hippie boy from Vermont. This is what life is all about, man.

During the time dilation portion, my mind opened up to the cosmological possibilities. I looked back to the bridge and wondered if, to the people in the cars, it seemed that we were the ones in motion. I wondered what it would be like if a black hole and a worm hole intersected. I grooved so much on the theory that I nearly missed the conclusion of this whole impromptu, riverside physics lesson.

"When I drop yo mama into the event horizon, she gets ripped apart by the tidal forces."
Thoughts: One Tree

LJ Idol

I am announcing my intent to participate in Season 9 (the final season) of therealljidol. LJ Idol is a game played on the Livejournal platform. Each week participants are asked to craft an entry based on a prompt. Most people write their entries, but anything goes, so long as it can be a LJ post. Once the deadline hits there is a poll to decide who advances to the next round. In the meantime, people read and comment on each others' posts (and non-participants do, too). There are open posts during the week where people engage in both idle chit chat and deep discussion.

If you're thinking that you want to throw in yourself, since it's the final season and all, you can sign up here.

Hope to see you there.
Thoughts: One Tree

You Deserve The World

Shared... because I needed to read it, and maybe you do, too.

Originally posted by teaberryblue at You Deserve The World
The concept has come up in a lot of discussions, in a lot of ways, for me, lately, that people are deserving or undeserving of certain things based on some kind of imaginary rubric that judges our worth as people.

I can speak about this from the perspective of being raised in a Catholic household, and I don't want to make assumptions about other people's religions, even the ones I know a lot about but haven't experienced in the same way, but it's something I understand is an active philosophy in many religions.

There's this heavenly ledger, right? If your good deeds outweigh your bad ones, you get eternal salvation. Or, you know, you might have committed a bad deed so irredeemable that you will get punished for the rest of eternity no matter what. But mostly, you have to strive to be good, and your good deeds measure the worth of your soul.

We get rewarded for how good we are. We get punished for how bad we are.

But I've got to say, outside of nursery school, that's pretty much a big bag of BS.

The good things that happen in a life are not rewards for being a good person, or a worthy person by some other measure. The bad things that happen in life are not punishments.

Good things happen. Bad things happen. There isn't even a divine balance. Good things don't happen in equal proportion to bad.

So those things you don't have in your life: success, money, love, family, a pony, a freezer full of ice cream...that's not punishment, not for anything you've failed to do in this life, not for anything you've failed to do in a past life.

Sometimes kindness pays off. Sometimes generosity pays off. Sometimes love pays off. Sometimes hard work, persistence, practice, skill, bravery, defiance-- name a quality, and sometimes it pays off. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it never does. And that does not mean there is something wrong with you. It just means your timing was bad, or your efforts were misdirected, or someone else got there first, or or or or.

Sometimes you fail because you've made a mistake. But not always. Sometimes you just fail. It doesn't mean you did badly, and it doesn't mean you're a bad person.

Sometimes you succeed because you worked your butt off and pushed yourself to be the best you can be. But not always. Sometimes you just succeed. It doesn't mean you did well, and it doesn't mean you're a good person.

(Although I say this with the caveat that I strongly believe most people, the vast majority of most people, are good people. The point is that success and goodness are not connected.)

Sometimes you succeed in spite of making a big mistake. Sometimes you fail in spite of doing everything perfectly.

And that's okay. It's, well, not okay okay, because it sucks when you repeatedly stumble when trying to achieve something you sorely want, and it's not always the best lesson to succeed in spite of laziness or lack of ethics, but it's okay because there is no heavenly ledger. There's no value judgment being projected on you, no cosmic force deciding that you can't have nice things because of that one time you pulled your sister's hair as a child.

This isn't to say that nothing is your fault. Sometimes you fail because you did something terribly wrong. You lost a friend because you hurt them. You were humiliated because you did something cruel. You didn't get a job because you were a jerk in the interview. Many, many things are direct consequences of our actions. And it's important to recognize that, too, and own our faults and our mistakes.

But don't own faults that aren't real, and don't own virtues that aren't real. Don't judge yourself harshly for things that are outside of your control, or so bogged down in so many variables that you just can't exercise the kind of control you might in another circumstance.

Just be good. Be good to each other. Be good to yourself. Do the best you can. Try your best. If you try your best and you fail, it doesn't mean your best wasn't good enough, or that you are not a good enough person. It means you failed. And that's sad, and it feels terrible, but that doesn't mean you are terrible. You know you're not terrible, because you were being good.

Or at least, you should know that. That is why I am telling you that right now.

Failure doesn't mean you're bad. Failure doesn't even mean you did badly. Not getting what you want doesn't mean you're not good enough.

You are good enough. That just doesn't mean there's a cosmic ledger tallying points in your favor. So, if you can, when you can, tally your own points. Tell yourself you're good enough.
Thoughts: One Tree

Things I Love Thursday: LJ Idol Edition

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." -Benjamin Franklin

Spring is finally in full swing up in my neck of the woods, which means I've been spending more time outdoors--walking, playing, reclining in the grass. It seems that spring is the time when I feel most alive. The world is full of possibility. After being cooped up inside all winter, I can finally emerge to stretch my legs and breathe deeply of the fresh air. Although there are many things in my life which are sources of stress, it seems as though there is also an abundance of goodness.

♥ weeding the garden ♥ long walks ♥ lavender scones ♥ origami ♥ knitting housewares ♥ toddler hugs ♥ reading under a tree ♥ bird watching ♥ twirling skirts ♥ the ocean ♥ trout lilies ♥ fresh chives ♥ tomato seedlings ♥ budgie songs ♥ family photos ♥ picking dandelions ♥ bike rides ♥ playgrounds ♥ walking barefoot ♥ rhinestone bracelets ♥ bumblebees ♥ learning ♥ rose water ♥ ripe avocados ♥ yellow mango season ♥ mushrooms ♥ possibilities ♥ story time ♥ play dates ♥ children's books ♥ silly dancing ♥ sun hats ♥ another mini season of LJ Idol ♥
Thoughts: One Tree

Friday Night Meme

It's been a long day out and about with the baby. So, I bring you a fun little game.

Don't cheat and look at my birthday or anything till you're done with this!

--Based on what you know of my personality from my interactions on the internet (or in person, if you know me that way), choose the astrological sign you would think best describes me.

(thanks teaberryblue for the idea)
Thoughts: One Tree


Hey hey, I'm having a productive day and it feels so good. It's been a while since I had the energy to get shit done. But today... I've washed, folded and PUT AWAY two loads of laundry. I've stayed on top of dishes and picking up after Henrietta. I went through some unopened mail, filed some of it, put some of it in the shredding pile. I paid an outstanding doctor's bill for $12 (a shot not covered by Medicaid). I activated my new debit card. I checked my bank balances. I put a couple of things into a bag for Goodwill. I made the bed. I tidied the pantry.

We recently did a big cleanup, so M's parents could interview brokers (they're putting the house back on the market in the spring). So now instead of feeling overwhelmed by the scope of what has to be done, I can work on smaller projects. It feels good to tackle the little things. Little things can add up to feeling like too much. But right now, I'm doing awesome.

Not sure what else I'll do today, but every little bit makes me feel better. So, I'm sure I'll keep at it.
Thoughts: One Tree

Elimination Diet: Challenging Foods

So, I made it through the 2 weeks of eliminating potential problem foods. Except for discovering I'd accidentally had soy several times in my TEA! Apparently a lot of herbal and flavored teas contain soy lecithin! Which means I've got to go a bit longer to eliminate soy.

The first food I decided to challenge was gluten. The way the challenge went was to introduce a little one day, then have a day off, then introduce a bit more, have a day off, and introduce a bit more. I did notice that I had slightly more throat congestion when I had gluten. I may or may not have felt more tired--it's hard to tell with Henrietta around whether it's her or the food. And there's a possibility I had a little gas. But, overall, there were no major symptoms. My conclusion is that I'll still eat food with gluten in it, but I will try to moderate how often I do so. Just so I don't start building up chronic throat congestion and whatnot.

Yesterday was time to challenge a new food. So, I decided to try corn. I made a yummy black bean and sweet potato chili, with some corn and tortilla chips. It was delicious. But a little while after I ate it, my tummy started to feel bloated and gassy and a little ouchy and gross. When I woke up this morning it was STILL like that! Even now! Ugh. It makes me reluctant to do the second round tomorrow--my poor intestines!

This experience has been good in one sense, though. It made me realize that if I've got a problem food, my body will let me know! None of this hemming and hawing like I did with the gluten, feeling unsure as to whether I was having a problem. So, with the remaining foods, at least I'll know what to expect.