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Showing posts from March, 2009

Telling stories to myself

Truly, I have the power - the power to make myself unhappy. The most effective way I do it is by telling stories to myself.

I've been a daydreamer all my life, spinning tales that I tell only to myself. There is a common pattern to these stories: I am nearly always a central character, and they don't really end, they just peter off. Events in the stories also do not go well for me. Relationships sour, people die, projects remain undone, deadlines are not met. And the stories leave a bad after-taste in my thoughts and emotions.

A while ago, I went through a period of contentment. It happened to be a time when I was blogging more actively. One day as I drove to work, I realized that I had stopped telling stories to myself. Telling stories to the world in written words seems to clear my thoughts of the dark tales, and to help prevent me from making myself unhappy.

Isn't this the heart of meditation - to not tell stories to oneself, to not cling to those dark tales, to let them d…

Knitting Blog: Moebius from the middle out

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One of my daughter's best friends is a young woman she met at science day camp at McGill 5 years ago. When my daughter went up to Montreal for orientation at the beginning of her first year at McGill, S. was there, working as a tour guide for new students. S. also showed up, with tools, on the day my daughter moved into her first apartment and needed help putting together 6 pieces of disassembled furniture. My husband and I have seen S. on many occasions since, including when she visited our home last year.

S. has dual citizenship with Canada and Syria. She makes a trip to Syria annually, and brings back interesting goodies like Syrian cumin in huge bags. She noticed that I love to wear pashmina scarves, which my daughter gets for me in Montreal at a reasonable price. S. told me that she could get them in Syria for a song, and said that she would pick up a few for me the next time she traveled that way.

S. came back from Syria in January with five pashminas for me!




Such a generous gi…

In Memory of Max Coots

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Max Coots died this past week.

Some people reading this blog will know who Max was. He was one of the remarkable men I have known. I first met Max almost 37 years ago, when he was minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton, NY. I met him because I had attended a UU church in Rochester with my mother, and now I wanted to get married, and I wanted him to marry me to my swain. He warned the young man and me that his marriages didn't always take, and his words were prescient for this particular marriage, which did not survive the transition from college life to real life. Nevertheless, he did a great job with the service, saying many words about what it means to be married that deserved attention.

Many years after that Robert and I joined that UU church. Max was retired by then, but he still came back to lead two services every year. For us, those services were not to be missed. It was always a treat to hear his rich voice, his humor, his take on humanity and the institutio…

Tax Time finally comes home.

Yesterday was Do-My-Daughter's-Income-Tax Day. Well, I planned on it being Do-Her-Taxes-In-2-Hours-And-Do-A-Bunch-Of-Other-Stuff-Too Day, but that didn't quite work out.

I knew her taxes were gonna be a bitch. She had a 1099 for her research work from this summer, with nothing withheld, not even Social Security and Medicare. AND she had international income. I figured ol' trusty TurboTax would come to my rescue and lead me through the mess. Hahahahaha! As they say, software is only as good as the knowledge of the persons designing AND using it.

This particular tax "expert" missed the fact that her research income was in box 3 of her 1099 ("Other income") rather than box 7 ("Nonemployee compensation"). I have received so many with box 7 entries, and typed so many with box 7 entries, I didn't SEE that my daughter's 1099 was different. She was the one to get on Google and figure out that this should be handled as scholarship income rather …