Monday, August 23, 2010

"Do all the good you can..." -- John Wesley

Here's a photo of my office reconfigured for teaching small workshops to four persons at a time. Each workshop is six hours long, and requires me to have created a reference volume from which to teach, part of which is a power point which I can now display on the large monitor.

Though the lion's share of my time is spent consulting, I will offer these 3 workshops each once a month going forward. I can't wait to see how the first one goes this week.

Here's the whole John Wesley quote, which applies on a small scale with these workshops:

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Made to Stick

I read an amazing short book last weekend called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. For those who spend time thinking about simplicity and elegance, this is a good read. In the stories and examples it uses, it reminds me why I care so much about what I do for a living. But the pictures here are about what I see in the world rather than what I get paid to think and talk about.

An early Saturday morning trip to Swansons Nursery set me up for success on a cool and rainy day. I was able to fill up my pots with some new color spots, including these gorgeous purple petunias.

I'm just about ready to call for a garden coach to learn just when to prune or cut back. Parts of the garden are incredibly overgrown because I dither.

Something fractured the image above, not sure why or how....but it looks even better this way, I think. The pot is one that Lauren and James gave me with a bag of bulbs one year for Christmas. The brick stand is one of two I purchased one year at a Roosevelt Jazz Band auction. And the lady in the stone circle was a birthday present one year from Diana and Hazard.

I'll close with heather growing on top of another kind of heather. I am pleased it looks so well in the back yard because our Argentinian friend Luba is making our basement flat her base of operations until the 26th. George Herbert said that "the best mirror is an old friend," which reminds me not only of Luba but of the friends I visited on my train trip a year ago.

My garden is made to stick.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Working over the summer with Ruth while my regular trainer is gone has been an eye opener. Ruth mixes it up every time I train. I am rarely on machines -- except for the gravitron and the leg press -- but am instead focusing on strengthening my core. And I am so much stronger!

We continue to mix in heel lifts and toe lifts done on the stairway for strengthening the quad and the calf muscles. The side plank and the raises I do from my back actually work now, too.

But the biggest surprise of all are the leg lifts done on my side -- I can feel both my abs obliques engage as I lift.

I am reading a book about why it is so hard to change behavior over an extended period of time -- it's called "Switch -- How to Change Things When Change Is Hard." The war between the two parts of your brain is described as the elephant (change is too hard, it's exhausting, so just stay the same) and the rider (change is good and has long term benefits even if hard to see right now). Setting a clear unambiguous and achievable goal seems to be part of the key to successful change. For me, I'm working on one simple goal this month: adding a visit to the Y on Wednesdays, even if I do nothing but ride the exercise bike while I'm there. More on this later.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Warrior-ing.

The team is off to Whidbey Island today for walking and camping practice. Even in the years I did the 3 Day Walk, I never thought I would be trained enough for this. I wish them well and cooler weather than we've had most of the week.

My friend Ginny figured out that my friend Jen with the foot that can bear no weight can ride in a wheelchair for good parts of the walk, so they are going to trial run that option this weekend.

Since I'm not walking this year or training with them this weekend, I'm planning a few extra active home-based activities. My garden needs weeding and pruning and more flowers planted. There's a farmer's market tomorrow morning in the U District. We've been out three nights this week already, but hoping for lunch and gallery time at the Seattle Art Museum as well. Or maybe the Chinese painting show at the Seattle Asian Art Museum?

Our friend Luba arrives late Tuesday evening from Argentina for a couple of weeks. Her son and family live just down the block, and are in the process of moving back into their beautifully renovated but dusty house, so the basement flat is hers as long as she needs it. The flat belongs to our son James, but makes a beautifully private living space with separate entrance. She'll be able to come and go as she wishes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear?"

The next sentence of this quotation from Tao Te Ching is:

"Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?"

I'm using what's left of my lunch hour to comment on this interesting quotation. Luckily for anyone reading, I have only a few moments before I drive off for meetings across the water.

I often find alignment with Chinese philosophers, but this quote is (to my mind) just plain wrong. For me at least, momentum is what drives right action. I find it hard to remain unmoving until a solution presents itself to anything. I thrive on the often disorderly process of identifying the right action. In fact I've also built a business on it.