Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Don’t LOOK at Me, Sandra!

The last Monday in March, I had the great pleasure of dinner at Herbivore with Lisa C., in town from Seattle.

I’ve been going to Howie’s every Tuesday evening, and to the Zen Center most Saturday mornings, though not every, and that is a nice dharma balance and good way to be around congenial people.

Last night, Howie talked about loss, as his much-loved pet had just died. He said that we want to fully experience joy and sorrow, just without tacking on grasping or aversion. We might ask ourselves, “What is the truth of this experience?” And, “What is inevitable and what is optional?”

“I don’t have to become the great non-griever,” he observed.

Toward the end, he took questions and, since the space is cavernous, used a microphone to summarize for the group what the speaker had said. One woman noted that she found it “stabilizing” to hear that dharma teachers have their ups and downs like anyone else. Howie summarized for us, “She says it’s very stabilizing to hear about my car being towed and my dog dying,” which was quite funny, though the events themselves aren’t funny at all.

I have been inspired lately to reprioritize and per that, am taking a break from hospice volunteering and am thinking of taking piano lessons. I’ve been playing my electronic keyboard every day since the new year and it always brings satisfaction and enjoyment. I’ve been working on some of my own compositions again, and emailed my esteemed music school piano professor, Dr. Neve, to see if she would consider sending me one of her excellently organized scale sheets, and she said it’s on its way. She said she has fond memories of me, which was awfully kind and also flattering, since I graduated 16 years ago. The feelings are mutual.

Nothing much to report on the lucid dream front because there hasn’t been one for two months, but I’ve been having lots of nice dreams of flying, or floating in the air, and I had this very strange dream of a paper cup with a metal frame affixed to it and a pair of dark eyes looking out of the frame. I move off to the side and see that the eyes are still looking at me. “Don’t look at me, Sandra!” I warn it, referring to Sandra Bullock, though the eyes actually look more like Debra Winger’s. I walk right up to the cup and there is no doubt its gaze is taunting and malevolent, so I destroy it.

I aspire to remember to make friends with dream enemies, but I don’t usually remember.

Reprioritizing also means deciding what stuff I don’t need to keep, so a lot of items have been going to the thrift store, and I also decided to get rid of an electric guitar, amp and guitar case, and a keyboard stand. I wanted to give the guitar and amp to an underprivileged young lady, but then someone at the thrift store mentioned the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, and I ended up giving it all to them, which is even better.

Of course, that put me dangerously near not having enough stuff, so I acquired a new toy, and the accompanying guilt about what it means for oppressed workers in other countries and the environment in general: an Internet radio, which will play anything streaming free online (such as KQED or Snakenet Metal Radio) and any paid services you subscribe to, plus music files on your own PC—your iTunes and downloaded podcasts and so forth.

Over the weekend, I listened to four episodes in a row of On the Media. Big treat! The main reason I wanted this thing was to be able to listen to dharma talks while I’m in the kitchen cooking for four or six or eight hours. There’s nothing stopping me from sitting down in front of my computer and listening to a talk, but I never do this. While at work in the kitchen is the perfect time.

Early on, I discovered that this device would only work when my computer was on. It has a wireless connection to my router and while it can’t play my own music files when my computer isn’t on, it should still be able to access Internet radio, but it wasn’t doing it. I did some reading and was anticipating a giant support nightmare, but yesterday morning, I did the very first thing advised, flush my DNS cache, and it worked!

I turned on the thing, tuned in KQED, turned off my computer and continued to hear Morning Edition. Then I turned off the thing and turned it back on and it still worked, so yay. However, this morning it was stuck again, so I turned on my computer, flushed the DNS cache again, and all was well, so I will see if I can make a scheduled job that does this every day at 4 a.m. (No hints needed yet, computer experts.)

I saw a marvelous movie this past weekend: Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s formative years. It’s absolutely beautiful to look at, and the performances are wonderful. I’m a huge fan of Kristin Scott Thomas.

This week I was cycling to work and stopped at the light on Market St. at Grant, a T-shaped intersection, and a guy to my left and a woman to my right also stopped. I said to the guy, “Good for you!” and we exchanged a few words, and, not wanting to leave the woman out, I said the same to her and she said, “For what?” “Stopping at the red light.” She looked confused. “Why wouldn’t I?”

She’ll soon learn she’s quite in the minority there, but I like to think it won't be that way forever.
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