Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moving on...

Hello Friends,

Since August, 2010, this blog has served well for my thought experiments, contemplations, and complaints.  78 posts in about a year and a half - seems like a lot sometimes but other times it doesn't...  Many of those posts (especially earlier on) include gripes about bankruptcy and financial distress, work, and other interpersonal problems, some of which I feel like I've moved on from for the most part.  Another large chunk of text was devoted to political issues, another area of life I don't feel like discussing much anymore.

That said, others posts focus on family, home schooling, and philosophical/spiritual considerations, which are still relevant and important in my daily life.

This is why I've decided to move to a new site, but keep this one hanging around as a testament to the continual change and impermanence in life.  This allows the "clean slate" effect while simultaneously not purging any history (I guess I'm a data hoarder and I'm leaving my mess on the internet, you're welcome).  As I change, so do the mediums by which I express my existence.  So, those who are interested, you may find my newest postings here.  I hope my future contemplation contain useful insight and are beneficial not just to myself, but to those who bother to read them.

Be at peace, my friends.  :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Fortunate Birth

I'd be remiss if I failed to post a mention of the recent birth: January 21 at 9:52 AM, after about 10 hours of labor, my wife gave birth to our daughter Alyanna Lynne. She has a strong set of lungs – I kid you not, she was born crying – and is nursing well. All of her bodily functions seem to be working in the proper fashion and she is already starting to settle into a less chaotic sleeping cycle. A very fortunate birth for both her and us, I am certain.

Dalton, recently turned seven years old, has taken well to having a little sister even though she gobbles up much of our time. We have made great efforts to not let him feel neglected or unloved, but even the best human efforts can come up short from time to time. We have impressed upon him that he must let us know how he feels so that we can minimize such circumstances when possible and proper – there is no reason for him to have to feel like we love his sister more than we do him even if she is certain to demand more from us on a consistent basis.

My wife seems to be recovering well (not painless, but pain only of a predictable, manageable sort) and is quickly producing sufficient supply for nursing. I've tried to limit the amount she has to be on her feet, of course, but she can be somewhat stubborn about not wanting to ask for too much help; that, and too much sitting isn't any better for her than too little.

In a surprising turn of events, it was strongly suggested by the Human Resources department at my work that I take a full week off instead of the previously scheduled three days. I was basically told “three days isn't enough,” and so I will return to work Monday instead of tomorrow morning. While not entirely necessary, it has been nice knowing that I didn't have to rush everything today in order to feel like I could comfortably make the attempt to return to a normal routine.

Not that anything here will constitute “normal” for a while, right?

So, in between naps and various chores, I have had quite the bit of time to read. Between the three books that I'm actively working on, I have turned 218 pages since arriving at the hospital around 1 AM on Saturday. That isn't really so much reading in terms of serious study, I'll admit, but it is a lot by my standards. Further, it has actually been quite enjoyable.

Have a accomplished much else?  No, not really.  I've spent some time playing Civilization V with Dalton and I've managed to [barely] catch up on laundry (which was in a sad state of affairs prior to the birth and obviously was not a particularly high priority immediately).  I also made some effort to observe the New Moon Uposatha on Monday, although I'll admit that it was far from stellar.  Regardless, I endeavor to continue to pursue the path even in the face of chaos and fatigue.

I hope you are well and may find peace of mind tonight.  I will write again soon, friends.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thirty Years Old, So??

The last couple of days have been a pleasant retreat from the work life, as Thursday was offered to me as VTO (voluntary time off) and Monday was scheduled in advance for my birthday.  I am 30 years old, for anyone who is keeping score, and I don't feel a day over... 30...  Meh...

The weekend was relatively productive; much cleaning in preparation for the incoming baby was done and some time was allotted for reading, which has fallen woefully behind schedule, one could say.  All of the major chores are caught up and some of the less-routine ones are too (amazing!) while most of the post-Christmas chaos has been eliminated from the living room (if you don't know what I mean, you clearly don't do Christmas quite like we do) and it is actually looking like a living room again.  Ha!

On the more developmental side of things, some of the free time has been spent listening to some Dhamma talks by Ajahn Brahmali, a Bhikkhu at Bodhinyana Monastery in Perth, Australia. While I have yet to connect with a local teacher, I continue to find interesting new resources available online and in print to help further my practice. Such audio and video clips are especially helpful, as sometimes an alternate method of bringing in information is useful in pushing an important idea deeper into the mind... and considering the lack of a live teacher immediately available, I'm utilizing the next-best thing as far as I can tell.

A little time was spent in the creativity/construction mode again too, this time designing and creating a smaller, shall we say, more “travel size” version of my study guide. The first one of it's kind shown to the right (with the “full” version in-picture for size reference).

In case anyone reading is unfamiliar, on November 21, 2011, I debuted my first self-bound booklet, my "Study Guide," which includes a number of ritual/developmental passages and a complete copy of the Dhammapada.  This book was replaced on December 12, 2011 with a similar booklet that featured certain content improvements (including an article authored by Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Theravada monk whose writings have become useful in my practice) and other features (a harder, more competent cover design being the main point).  I gifted the original to my sisters at Christmas time as they showed some interest in it and have used the newer one since. 

Now I have come to the conclusion that something smaller, less inclusive might be useful.  This is where my "travel size" compilation comes in.  The one I completed tonight (below, left) will remain in my home study area where my other books reside while the second one will live in my van.  Once a few books I have ordered arrive, the "full version" will go to work and live in my locker so that I no longer have to carry it to and from work every day.

Due to a materials shortage, I was unable to complete the second mini-booklet tonight (so, in fact, I didn't really even start it), but after a trip to Michaels, I'm quite certain I will be able to complete is quickly and effortlessly.  I did, however, choose cover colors and have some things set aside, ready (above, right).

As for other news, we are mere days from bringing forth our second child into the world, and event I will admit to be eagerly awaiting.  Of course, my wife is far more eager than I, even if she refuses to admit it -- I think her complaints of back pains are an eerie reminder of the end of her pregnancy with Dalton, leading me to believe that we may in the delivery room in as little as 48 hours, regardless of the January 27 due date.  I suppose we will know soon enough, no?

In closing, I was to thank the great multitude of friends that noticed and wished me a happy birthday today, whether it was Facebook reminding you that prompted it or you actually remembered (doesn't particularly matter to me), I appreciate the well wishes and hope you are all well too.

Metta.  I will write again soon.