28 September 2010

LDS Friends, You Gotta Read This

Once in a while you run across something that is so good on so many levels that you don't even want to start describing it. You just point others toward and say "You gotta see this." And that's what I'm doing now. Thanks to anonymous blogger friend who called this to my attention. LDS friends and readers, you are about to read something quite remarkable. Click here.

26 September 2010

Sunday Evening Post

I've always liked Sunday evenings, they're a time to wind down from weekend activity and re-charge before starting another week. I think one of the great secrets of happiness is a grateful heart and that's something I have tried to cultivate. My friend Will, an Episcopal priest, sometimes updates his Facebook status with "grateful." That's all. Good for him. Here are some things I'm grateful for.

My kids. Everybody brags about their kids being the world's best, but mine really are.

My extended family. Sure, a few of us don't see eye to eye on everything at the moment and some issues need to be worked through. But they are my family and I love them all, regardless.

My friends. I am so richly blessed in this respect. Time and again they have rescued me from disaster. I love them all and they know who they are.

Sunglasses. My pale-colored eyes really need them. I would not have made a good Eskimo.

Dark chocolate, 72% at least. Cures the sweet tooth with minimal caloric intake and definite health benefits, and if you know the right brands to buy, the taste experience can be amazing. No, Hershey's industrial quality bars don't qualify. Use them to patch your roof.

Sleep buttons on remotes.

The sound of lawn sprinklers going off at 3 a.m. IDK why it's so soothing. Almost as much as hearing the soft rush & rumble of distant 18 wheelers whizzing by in the early hours of the morning through an open window at my grandma's house in St. George, when I would stop there to spend the night during college years or we'd go there for Thanksgiving. Savor the times that make the memories, folks, 'cause they pass too quickly.

Key fobs with buttons that unlock your car before you get there.

Black cherry Kool-aid. My mom used to make it all the time during the summer. To me it still means home and happiness.


Seeing the kaleidoscope, not the monochrome.

Rugby and baseball, without which we would be stuck with soccer, American football, and basketball. Unendurable.

Rachmaninoff's melodic gift, Bach's genius with counterpoint, and Beethoven's laughing lion's roar.

Costco roast chickens which, after meat is removed and the rest is boiled for hours with celery, onions, carrots, bay leaves, garlic, kosher salt, fresh peppercorns, and a little sugar, make the best chicken stock in the world for the best homemade chicken noodle soup in the world for the best kids in the world.

21 September 2010

Pablo Hits It Out Of The Park Again

This one's even better than the last. Whether you agree with him or not, he has the gift of provoking some serious thought. So if you're not afraid of that, read what he has to say here.

14 September 2010

Family And Friends, Please Read These Posts

Occasionally I run across somebody else's stuff on line that's too good not to share. Today I found two of those, actually. Well worth reading.

The first is from blogger friend Pablo. It's extremely compelling and should be required reading for all "TBMs" (True Blue Mormons) with any gay family or friends in the LDS Church. To my own extended family: I know you read this blog. Please give Pablo's viewpoint every possible consideration. Warning: It is not a sweet nice diplomatic puff piece. He pulls no punches. But I think you will be better and more knowledgeable for reading it. Click here.

Second is for anyone geeky or wonky enough to care about the legal fate of Proposition 8, or who really believes all the messaging put out by the LDS Church in the 2008 election about protecting traditional marriage, preserving the family, etc. When the lead attorney who defended Prop 8 in federal court can't even withstand questioning from a bunch of BYU Law students, what does that say about the truth of all that election messaging? Or Prop 8's chances if it ever gets to the Supreme Court? Click here.

10 September 2010

More Paradox

Today I was chatting with a friend and we got onto the subject of paradox. Those who know me also know that this topic fascinates me, and that my own life is filled with paradox. I love the brutality and strain and sweat and conflict of playing rugby, and I also love leisurely preparing a gourmet meal with/for friends with Mozart playing in the background. Don't ask me to explain this, I've given up trying. It's just part of the design. You want reasons, go ask The Maker. More on this in a minute.

At the end of my CODA post a few days ago, I said "Not The End. Because there isn't any end. It goes on forever." Which I truly and sincerely believe down to the bottom of my soul. After I wrote those words, suddenly they seemed familiar, like I'd read something similar elsewhere. But I couldn't place it. When this happens, my subconscious usually takes over while I focus on other things. It goes into back buffer search subroutine mode and usually spits out the missing piece later on, sometimes days later.

As in this case. The answer popped up on (mental) screen just a few minutes ago. And I laughed because it was more evidence of my own paradoxical traits that blend with the rugby and the baseball and the kickboxing and all that.

I like old Korean poetry. Really old, as in centuries old. Since its originals were all written in archaic Korean and Chinese, I normally content myself with the translations. So they don't scan or rhyme like English poetry does. Instead, the aesthetic focuses on the pictures that the words paint. And I realized that the phrase I'd used at the end of my CODA post was similar to one of my favorite Korean poems from the 16th Century. (How many rugby players do you know who obsess about 16th Century Korean poetry? Yeah, weird, I agree.) Nearby in the anthology was another one that I love because of its imagery, and I've been in remote Korean mountain valleys much like it describes so I know that the beauty it describes is truly stunning.

So I thought it'd be nice to share these two little gems with whoever bothers to read my blog, because I'd bet the cost of two tickets to a Padres game (which is dropping since they're playing really bad right now) that not a single one of you has ever seen these before or even heard of them. The secret to enjoying these is to let your mind paint the picture as you read the words, then just savor the picture for a moment afterward.

First one, by Buddhist Grand Master Sosan (1522-1604):

The Dozing Monk

In the deep recess a rain of pink petals,
The long bamboo emit emerald mists.
Frozen white clouds lodge on the peak.
A monk dozes beside a blue crane.

Stop and savor that mental picture for a moment. The "deep recess" of course being a narrow wooded mountain valley. Rich green, pink, icy white, blue all together, and perfectly tranquil. Sosan was a genius.

Now here's the one that my wetware subroutine finally coughed up after being triggered by my CODA post. It's by Korean poet Yi Hwang (1501-1571) and is deeply, profoundly touching in both its imagery and its message. It doesn't have a title. And I won't say anything after it because I want Yi Hwang to have the last word.

The green hills--how can it be
that they are green eternally?
Flowing streams--how can it be
night and day they never stand still?
We also, we can never stop.
We shall grow green eternally.

08 September 2010

Random Thoughts

Time to take a break from the seriousness of life and just spout whatever froth floats around my alleged brain in between the big stuff.

A bird's nest fell out of the tree outside my office window. The tree is a Torrey pine, found nowhere else on earth but this small area of the SoCA coast. I've never seen a bird's nest made with Torrey pine needles before. Fascinating. And my time in Asia must have warped me permanently because I instantly thought of Chinese birds' nest soup and how I was a lot less likely to try it again now that I've seen what the inside of that nest looks like.

Windows Vista sucks big time.

iTunes Ping rocks.

My good friend Lisa Jenkins has written one of the most hysterically funny and spot-on analyses of Mormon terminology I've seen in a long time. Check it out.

Why has my black ink cartridge run out already, long before the colored ones? Usually it's the other way round.

I wish I didn't have a 7 am conference call, I want to go running on the beach tomorrow morning. Oh well, at least the gym's open late and I can get in a workout tonight.

Thank you George Foreman. Your grill makes it possible to whip up a somewhat decent dinner in 5 minutes.

Few situations in life are not a match for at least one line from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Living far from lots of my friends sucks. But there is some small compensation when I look out the window at the ridge of hills just a mile to the west, right along the coast, when the trees are back-lit by the setting sun's glow and the coastal mist turns their silhouettes shades of green-grey, tinged with gold. It's like looking at a modern impressionistic painting. So beautiful.

One of my kids loves Family Guy. Said kid would watch it all day if it were permitted. I have therefore learned to hate Family Guy for the same reason one hates a joke one has heard for the 1000th time. For the same reason I hate Beethoven's "Fur Elise." Gaaaaahhh.

Adam Sandler ain't much better.

Chris Pine. Perfect.

Rush hour traffic should be done, time to head to Costco for supplies. Friend Chris recommends for post-workout purposes a protein supplement stocked there. Stupid me, already ate dinner, could have binged on the samples near the freezer section.

I think the iPhone is charged. There's nothing like stomping down the Costco aisles belting out Mahler's 8th Symphony under your breath while buying fruit and salmon in bulk.


04 September 2010

Rob's CODA

See Rob two years ago. Rob is miserable and conflicted, browbeaten into thinking God wants his whole life to be that way.

See Rob suddenly come to his senses for a reason he may never figure out. Inspiration, frustration? Some angel touched him, he thinks, because suddenly he knows he can't stay the way he is any more.

See Rob finally speak out, voice and hands trembling.

See the world continue turning, the sun rising as usual, and life going on as normal, despite all Rob's prior expectations of calamitous world collapse.

See Rob incredulous at how happy he suddenly is. See him feel like a huge weight is lifted from his shoulders.

See the two years that ensue. See Rob start to blog and speak out with a stronger voice. See him start to write for national publications. See his kids be totally supportive and push him to find their other dad. See his network of friends grow miraculously to include so many that bless his life immeasurably. See Rob's faith correct itself. See Rob's heart finally at peace and confident in his path forward.

See Rob wish he could give each one of his friends a huge rugby hug and tell them how much he loves them and how much they mean to him.

Today is Rob's second Coming Out Day Anniversary, his "CODA". His own personal Thanksgiving Day. See Rob grateful beyond expression for all the gifts in his life and hoping to live happily ever after.

Not The End. Because there isn't any end. It goes on forever.