Monday, December 21, 2009

Going to California


This is my favorite photo of the ones I took recently in California. The view out the window is of Newport Beach.


Monday, November 30, 2009

more thoughts about cognitive dissonance

So, as I mentioned earlier, my daughter and I have had this ongoing dialogue about cognitive dissonance. She brought it up and I have kept it going since we have had some difficult moments with it. Mainly, the difficulty was me not really understanding it completely. And I admit I probably still don't get it, not quite. The idea intrigues me because it seems to explain some of the more perplexing mysteries of life. Like how people can see things so differently from each other and yet not be "wrong" in their perception.

For example, consider this conversation we had the other night. I had proposed the idea to her that cognitive dissonance is not like when life gives you lemons you make lemonade but rather: when life gives you lemons, look at what bad decision you made that brought them into your life. She replied that it is more like this (paraphrased and somewhat embellished): You spend a bunch of money on lemons, thinking they will be delicious. But to your chagrin, you discover they taste terrible. Rather than having to face the awful reality that you truly made a Bad Decision, you lie to yourself and pretend that all is peachy. Or lemony. That is cognitive dissonance.

That little bit was influenced by something she had shown me, from
Wikipedia:

A powerful cause of dissonance is an idea in conflict with a fundamental element of the self-concept, such as "I am a good person" or "I made the right decision." The anxiety that comes with the possibility of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one's choices. A person who just spent too much money on a new car might decide that the new vehicle is much less likely to break down than his or her old car. This belief may or may not be true, but it would likely reduce dissonance and make the person feel better. Dissonance can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of disconfirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms.

All of this has me thinking about the nature of bad decisions. Who judges decisions and on what are those judgments based? What goes into the making of a decision judged as being a bad one? These questions, of course, cannot be specifically answered except in the context of specific situations and decisions.

One thing that seems significant here is belief, what a person believes to be true about a situation. Beliefs are built on other beliefs. And decisions, good or bad, seem to be irreversible in that they are final at the time they are made. This being true, those decisions are effective until they are replaced with new decisions that change the outcome or maybe just the perception of the previous decision. Again, this is generally speaking and not referring specifically to any particular situation.

Applying it to the situation described above (the Wikipedia excerpt), let's say I am that person who paid too much for the car and in order to make myself feel better about it, I focus on how the new car is in better mechanical condition than the old car. I cannot undo the purchase of the car (the bad decision), will never get that money back. But not only can I appreciate that I feel safer in this new car, I can also focus on the real value of that money. So I "wasted" it; money is money and I can get more. Maybe I will have to spend a little less in some other areas for awhile, maybe even for a long while since I am now making those high monthly car payments. But rather than resent or berate myself for the decision to buy the car, I could instead focus on the enjoyment of that car, despite the cost of it. Or, if it bugs me that much, I could sell it and buy something I believed to be of a value appropriate to the amount of money spent.

But I am getting out of my element here, for money is something that I am not comfortable talking about. Maybe this is because of the way I fear money's influence on the decisions that I make, some of them very personal and others quite ordinary. One of my mother's favorite expressions was always: money isn't important unless you don't have any. I guess this holds true for me as well. Very true, in fact.

My financial situation right now is that I am not bringing in any money at all while my husband is carrying the full weight of our financial burden. This will not be the case for much longer, I hope, because my intention is to find a paid internship, now that I have my degree and am preparing to take the state licensing test.

Meanwhile, back to cognitive dissonance, I am experiencing a lot of it lately, which I suppose is a good reason to want to explore it further. Here is another quote from the same source I referenced above:

The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Yes, I'd say reducing the "uncomfortable feeling" resulting from a situation where "one idea implies the opposite of another" is something I would definitely like to see happen in my life. This being true, I am making the decision to be grateful for the decisions I have made that have brought truly good things into my life. Some of these decisions were not easy to make; I knew people I cared about would object to them (or at least feel uncomfortable with them); but they turned out to be the "right" thing for me to do after all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog Time

It seems about time for a blog entry. Today is supposedly "Black Friday," and I have no idea who came up with that term. But it certainly seems appropriate, for the idea of rushing out and shopping after one day, a single solitary day, of stores being closed for a national holiday, just seems ... well, let me put it this way: sadly American. We spend Thanksgiving Day feasting, gorging ourselves with food glorious food, and yet go on a "fast" from shopping that same day. Hardly anything is open on Thanksgiving, but the day after....

Okay, enough about that. I started this month with the intention to write a novel in thirty days. Yes, I laughed as I wrote that last sentence. It is embarrassing. But I did succeed at doing just that two years ago: NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner

Please forgive me, I needed that pat on the back. I feel sort of redeemed by this past success but still slightly embarrassed by what I did this year, which is start the project knowing it was the month I would also be faced with finishing my master's degree. If I had put my efforts into the novel this year, perhaps I wouldn't even have graduated. As it stands now, I am 40,546 words away from the 50,000 word finish line! The project ends in a few days and, needless to say, I am one of those people Chris Baty classifies as being in...

Group Three: The Go On Without Me's. For you, November turned out to be a very bad month to try and write a novel. Life went completely crazycakes, and you faced a never-ending series of demanding work or school projects, health emergencies, social obligations, and/or tech meltdowns. You managed to get a few good ideas down on paper, but never quite found your novel's rhythm. You're thinking of bowing out, and planning on giving it a try next year.

That's me. That's the group I'm in: Go On Without Me. But I got something I
know you didn't get: a watch. That's right. The president of the school I graduated from handed me a nifty watch after I walked across the stage to signify my achievement. It's a pretty watch, too. I am wearing it now. We all got watches. That was my prize whereas the NaNoWriMos won whatever they won this year. I don't care. (Oh, okay. Yes I do care. I hope they won cool stuff this year, too.)

But this isn't what I came here to talk about. No. The topic on my mind since early morning ... actually, since last night when my daughter and I were talking about it, is cognitive dissonance. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Cognitive dissonance. Say it out loud. Go ahead. See how it feels to say ...
cognitive dissonance. (Ha.) It means "the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change."

Is that ever
me! As much as I truly want to change particular attitudes and behaviors, the reality remains: I am what I am, and this is pretty much the person I have always been. The one who still gets stuck in the same behavioral patterns, putting myself into situations where I don't belong, where I need to remain neutral in order be effective. But who can be neutral? I mean really. Come on. Neutrality is for people without feelings or opinions. So, inevitably I insert myself wherever I go.

But this isn't what I really wanted to talk about here either. I want to cover the ground between the time I stopped working on the ill-fated month-long novel and now. I knew it was going downhill when I wrote these final words:

"Officially, as of now [sometime on November 12th], this project is HISTORY. I don't have the will to finish. NaNoFiniTo. It is a sense of RELIEF. Now I can look at all these characters (me) and see who 'they' really are: a bunch of psychopathic losers; now I can see where this is going and it isn't a pretty place. 'Nobody loves me and nobody cares,' Gloria whined to her dad. 'That's right, kiddo.' Brad looked at Gloria with a homicidal glint in his eye, pulled out ... a piece of paper and wrote ... THE END."

And that is how my story died. After that happened, I just started writing whatever was on my mind, putting it all
out there in the notebook I bought expressly for the novel wrtiting project. Life on life's terms. It seems to exist in a place of perpetual cognitive dissonance.

I'll come back and write more later, I hope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Graduation



It has been awhile since I updated this blog. But since my "status" has changed (I am no longer a student), I figured what the heck. Here is a photo from my graduation ceremony on November 20th.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Compassionate Caregiver

People go see shrinks because they can no longer go on in their lives without help. They have either come to realize this on their own, or their circumstances have forced them to this decision. It is also true that the matter might have been decided for them, in a courtroom or even in a living room. Whatever the reason, though, the fact remains that people do end up in therapy, in a room with themselves and another person: a counselor or therapist. Me. I am going to be that person.

Why did I choose to become a counselor? I actually am not one yet but am on the verge of starting my first practicum (or internship) at a drug and alcohol recovery center. It is a sobering thought.

My daughter and I saw the image above on a refrigerator magnet a few years ago and both found it quite amusing. This was actually before I made the decision to become a counselor. I am thinking about displaying it in my office to help crack the ice with my clients but am not sure whether the humor would be appreciated by everyone. Humor is "funny" that way, you know.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two reasons to listen to Eigenvectör this week

Miriam and Harrison


Friday
4 to 6 p.m. CST 
5 to 7 p.m. EST
3 to 5 p.m. MST
2 to 4 p.m. PST
10 p.m. to midnight BST
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. CET
midnight to 2 a.m. EET

Hope?

Did someone say ... wait a minute. I think hope could be a good thing, if only we'd agree on what it means. 

I have no hope whatsoever that politicians in general will ever really be nonpartisan, nor do I have hope that they will not be cynical. The ones who are so sure that President Obama represents everything they deplore will (and do) seek to discredit him however they can. 

He promises that our economy will recover. Well, that would be nice, but what is the reality of this country's economic strength? The smirks on people's faces last night, ones in the audience of the president's congressional address, reveal their contempt; they also reveal that they are just waiting and not really listening to the president. 

I have serious doubts that people who don't really support the president, for whatever reason, can swallow their pride and work with him or trust him to lead our country. Their arrogance will prevent it. But I only believe this because I sympathize with him and would probably be sitting and smirking with the cynics had the "other" candidate won. So,....

That is the tragedy of our American system of governance. Each one of us is a partisan. How many Republicans (besides the ones who voted for Obama) are glad to see him in office? For the most part, they are either opposing him or reluctantly supporting him; but they are not happy about it. These people are now being forced by circumstance to work with him; and they are likely looking at his supporters as smug and elitist because "their" candidate won the election. 

Let's face it: pride is something each one of us has to face. I find myself in a somewhat smug position, of liking and supporting the president. What I don't like, though, is knowing that there are people out there who truly want him to fail, so they can say, "told ya," and (if he does fail) gloat about how "right" they were. In no way are these people going to go along with an agenda that includes actions that fall outside of their philosophical and political belief system, whether that be capitalism, republicanism, or any other ism. Universal educational access to all children? Job assurance for adults? Ha. Fat chance this can happen without the country turning socialist or communist. Right?

People stick to their isms. If only they (we) didn't, maybe we'd really have hope of creating a country we can all live peaceably within.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Immediate Peace

"Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace."

Bhagavad Gita

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tears of a Clown

I just finished reading an article on the dynamics of scapegoating in group counseling and how group leaders might intervene. It was a painful article to read because it reminded me of perhaps every time I've ever been a scapegoat.

I kept thinking about people who project their own weaknesses onto others as a means of coping, but at the expense of the scapegoat's comfort. There is an amusing saying that goes, "Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable." I like it because of the image it conjures, of shaking the status quo, of rattling people's cages, of refusing to accept things as they are.

I imagine a sad clown, a person hiding in plain sight behind a painted-on sad face, who needs a mirror image of himself in order to make sense of the sadness. So, he finds another sad person and attacks, says things designed to wound and make him feel even more sad. Before long, everyone in the room is sad. Then the door opens and another clown walks in, this one with a happy face painted on and a genuine smile behind it. "Why so sad, my clown friends? What happened, did someone die?"

Can you picture that scene? A room full of clowns. How could anybody be sad there? Well, maybe someone with coulrophobia (fear of clowns), but the so-called normal person would probably be cheered up sitting in a clown-filled room. I might not know the first thing about being normal, but I would certainly enjoy the company of those clowns!

This is just imagery, though. In a real group counseling situation, scapegoating can be a serious problem. It can make a bad situation worse; if a person was already feeling insecure and unsure of being really open and vulnerable with the group and then gets "shot down" with words by someone else in the group who is hurting, a new wound opens up.

I am now thinking back to what I wrote a few weeks ago, a blog post about a not so innocent bystander. I sort of ganged up on that guy, didn't I? It wasn't really intentional; it just turned out that way. By pointing out something that I noticed, his role in creating the situation he described, the picture emerged of a person being manipulative and even malevolent. And I played a role in creating that picture, describing the image so you would see it, too.

In this article (the one I linked to in the first paragraph) is a statement about how particular qualities of a scapegoated member can trigger an attack and that the target is hardly an innocent bystander. The example is given of a child bobbing his head and making bird sounds who becomes upset when other group members criticize his behavior.

Almost every time we open our mouths, we risk making ourselves targets of scorn and derision. It almost makes me want to take a vow of silence. This being impossible, however, I will keep communicating, even knowing it's a losing game sometimes. 

I wrote a short vignette a few years ago that now comes to mind. (The watercolor collage that illustrates it is mine, too.) There is a line in there about the Smokey Robinson song, Tears of a Clown, which I love. It comes right before a moment of clarity between two men who have suddenly become equals in that they both recognize their capacity for pain and acknowledge that tears can be healing. The next thing that happens is the therapist asks the client how he might be of help. I wonder whether that is perhaps the most important question we can ask.

How can I help?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eigenvectör (Again?)

I know, this is getting way too tedious and repetitive. But I feel the need to clarify something. The name of the radio show is Eigenvectör, not Eigenvectōr, as I wrote the other day. An umlaut is a pair of dots, not a line. A minor detail but details matter, don't they? Of course they do!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Eigenvectōr (Continued)

If you tuned in to Eigenvectōr, here is what you heard. The playlist is in reverse order; in other words, the first song listed was the last one played.

Friday 6 February 2009

Album - Artist - Song

Juno - OST - Kimya Dawson - Tire Swing
Exit - Shugo Tokumaru - Green Rain
The Woods - Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl
Alright, Still - Lily Allen - Shame For You
Big Fish - Pearl Jam - Man Of The Hour
OK Computer - Radiohead - Exit Music For A Film
Girls And Boys - Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am
The Stooges - The Stooges - 1969
Barracuda - Kinky - Hasta Quemarnos
Gospel Claws - Gospel Claws - God Keeps Me Alive
White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
Running With Scissors - Weird Al Yankovic - Albuquerque
The Spine - They Might Be Giants - Experimental Film
Kala - M.I.A. - The Turn
The Mouse And The Mask - Danger Doom - Old School
Death Won't Ever Kill You - Bob Marley - Concrete Jungle
The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May And His Magnificent Ukelele - Howard
The White Album - The Beatles - Happy Birthday*
Seven Layers Of Self-Defense - Latvian Radio - Suzy Singable
Cheap Thrills - Big Brother & The Holding Company - I Need A Man To Love
Coyote - El Goodo
Free The Bees - A Band Of Bees - Horsemen


What can I say? I mean, this is my daughter so I'm going to be naturally biased, but isn't that sort of fabulous? I think so. They are on every Friday afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m. CST.

* In honor of my daughter's eighteenth birthday, which was yesterday, and Bob Marley's birthday.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Eigenvectōr

I am compelled to mention my daughter's radio show here because she wants people to listen to it and asked me to help her promote it. "Eigenvectōr" is broadcast live on the Internet every Friday afternoon, from 4 to 6 pm CST. She hosts the show with her friend Harrison. Last week, there were only two people listening, me and Harrison's mom. 

So, if you happen to be online tomorrow afternoon, please tune in. They play an odd mix of tunes; you never know what's going to turn up there, whatever amuses and entertains them. Chances are, you'll be amused and entertained as well. Just go to http://radio.utdallas.edu and press the "Tune In!" button. They also take requests, by phone 972.883.6305 or on AIM (their ID is I Am Radio UTD).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Second Blooming

"I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find—at the age of fifty, say—that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about."
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)

Thanks (again) to Elizabeth for snipping and pasting this quote in another blog so that I, in turn, could snip and paste it again! I actually do turn 50 this year and although I hardly feel at the end of  "the life of the emotions and of personal relations" (never), a whole new life is definitely opening up here.

I received a call that I have been waiting for this morning, someone who might be offering me a counseling practicum, starting in March, which is exactly what I need right now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Not So Innocent Bystander

I have been following a conversation in Steve Salerno's blog and was reminded of something in one of my books, The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind is Designed to Kill, by David M. Buss.

The topic is infidelity and what came to my mind is a discussion in the book about "mate poaching," which is pretty much what it sounds like: trying to pinch someone else's partner, as one writer puts it. But what I discovered when I turned to that chapter surprised me; it was something I didn't notice when I first read it.

I came to realize Buss is not exactly an innocent bystander in the scenario described in the opening of the chapter, "Mate Poachers." Now, let me start with a disclaimer: What Buss is talking about is important and my observation here does not diminish this in the least. It merely points out how his actions influenced and set up a scene that helped him make his point.

Buss tells the story of a party he attended, a light-hearted social gathering of friends and family who had come together "for a long weekend of eating, drinking, talking, hugging, and having an all-around good time." Well, one of the guests at one point said to Buss that he's "got to do something" about another guest who he had witnessed hugging his wife. Buss asked him to clarify what he meant, and the man replied: "I feel like taking a screwdriver and ramming it into his neck."

Apparently, Buss decided to spread word throughout the gathering of this man's supposedly homicidal intent! I wondered, why didn't he question the guy further, find out exactly why he felt threatened by what appeared to be a congenial and innocent hug. Maybe there was some history here that Buss didn't know about. Whether the man had a right or reason to be angry is sort of beside the point, as I see it. His wife may or may not have "strayed" in the past, or had a tendency to behave "inappropriately" with other men. (I put these words in quotes because they are subject to individual interpretation.) My point here is that if Buss had delved into this a little more with the man instead of leaping to the conclusion that he might actually commit a violent act toward a man he (apparently) suspected of potential mate poaching, he most certainly would have avoided creating an atmosphere in the party of "homicidal hyperalert." 

Nobody at the party had to know what words the man used to describe his anger. Buss was the one who chose to repeat them; he is the one guilty of spreading the rumor, or of gossiping about an alleged intent that he really knew nothing about. The angry man's first words to Buss had been about his need to "do something" about a situation in which he felt threatened. The fact that he felt like committing a violent act probably was nothing more than just that, a feeling that arose in the context of an angry moment. Buss describes the man as "peaceful" and as one who had "never before shown any signs of violence."

So, why did he choose to say something slanderous about the man, even if he was repeating the exact words the man used? I'd say it's because it served his narcissistic purpose of gathering juicy material for his book. If he had merely talked the man into a state of calm and found out more information about why he felt so threatened, Buss could instead have helped rather than hurt the man, as he did by repeating words that caused "everyone" at the party to look with suspicion upon him, a man who might have only been afraid, nothing more or less. Buss claims that everyone "made sure that their bedroom doors were locked tight that night." 

Oh, sure. They were really afraid of a man going off on a raging homicidal spree? More realistically, they had been influenced by another man (Buss) intent on creating a scene that furthered his own agenda.

One thing I found interesting in this whole description is how Buss described the man who had hugged the woman as a "friend," and yet the other man, the one who had confided in Buss about his anger, was not described as a friend. Was that the difference between the two men, as far as Buss was concerned, that one man is a friend and other a mere acquaintance?

In any case, here is the opening sentence of that chapter: "One of the most terrifying displays of homicidal psychology I've personally witnessed happened at a friend's home." Yet Buss was hardly just an innocent bystander watching the horror of it all unfold.

But back to the topic of infidelity, another item came to my attention: an article shared by another blogstress, Elizabeth, in Steve's blog as part of that conversation I mentioned earlier. "What Do Women Want? - Discovering What Ignites Female Desire," published on January 22nd in the New York Times Magazine, is very much related to this whole issue and yet opens up quite a few more topics, so I will leave it alone for now and see if this generates any comments.

Mainly, I was thinking about the idea brought out in the article that women's sexual desire is narcissistic.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Sting of Exclusion

Inspired by a phrase picked up while watching and listening to the inaugural events on television, I thought of how the sting of exclusion affects each one of us from time to time. The phrase was: "we've tasted the bitter pill of segregation." After turning off the inaugural events, listening now only to the sound of my dog snoring and the tapping of keys combined with my own voice and the voice of another dog barking outside, I realize one of the biggest challenges our new president faces is that of approaching boundaries with wisdom, restraint, discernment, and - most importantly - with decisive action.

I am reminded of something my mother once told me, something that stuck with her after one of the surgeons operating on my heart-diseased father told it to her. They had been discussing Dad's dire situation and what the next course of action might be. In matters of life and death, a surgeon must sometimes make a series of decisions; and one decision always comes after another one based on various factors. All of these decisions cannot be made at once; and the surgeon cannot predict what some of the decisions will be until he or she learns the outcome of the decisions that come before them. This all might sound vague and yet the point that particular surgeon made to my mother on that day had to do with the idea of one decision being only good until another decision had to be made.

Have you ever watched the show, "House"? If so, you can understand how the final outcome of the show often hinges on something not previously considered, like a tick (arachnid) or a termite, being discovered as the cause of a mysterious illness. House will come in to save the day with these discoveries, often after alienating himself from patients' families and other medical professionals. He's a crusty one but by the end of the show, he comes out smelling like a rose. At the beginning, however, many other possibilities are considered. Does the patient have cancer? Hepatitis? It is a process of elimination. A patient could literally be on the operating table about to have a procedure done, one that had been decided and agreed upon by everyone (a liver transplant, for example); then when that new information is available and it contradicts the old information (the guy doesn't actually need a new liver), a quick decision must be made to not operate and instead treat the
real problem (the infection, for example). 

That is the kind of thing my father's doctor was referring to when he told my mother one decision is only good until another decision has to be made. Unfortunately, in my father's case, he ended up dying because of an infection that took over his body after (successful) neurosurgery. This was over thirty years ago and medical technology and knowledge has come a long way since then. But the point about decisions being made on an as needed basis remains valid.

Going back to the idea of exclusion, I also think of the difference between love and infatuation. I have been reading more of William Glasser (see my previous posting, 
Positive Addiction) and came across some text where he claims that infatuation is "the lifeblood of affairs." I can certainly see how this might seem to be true. On the other hand, what really is the difference in love and infatuation? Both make us feel good. Both give us energy. And both can be present in a relationship. Glasser himself says infatuation can turn into love, but only rarely. But I wonder about this, personally. (Isn't "love at first sight" actually a type of infatuation?)

I have veered from what I came here to talk about, which is the sting of exclusion. I felt it during the inaugural proceedings. America is a nation where secular values are supposedly honored along with religious values. During the prayers, in particular, I wondered about how people who do not share our new president's religious beliefs might have reacted to the decidedly Christian slant to the whole shebang. Now, I'm not knocking it because, on one hand, it exemplifies the freedom we do enjoy in this country. But it also might serve to alienate people who don't share those beliefs. How does the Jewish person feel, for example, hearing the Saddleback minister pray in the name of Jesus? Or, how does the atheist feel about any kind of praying being done publicly during the inauguration of our new president, a person who "belongs" to each one of us equally? The fact is, some people really don't care, and that is part of the tragedy of the sting of exclusion. We all have a right to be respected, regardless of our religious beliefs or lack of them.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Coughing Up a Hairball

Yes, it's that time again ...

I like that cartoon and had it posted here on this page but after thinking about it and looking at the website where I
snatched it (yep), I began to fear copyright violations and didn't want the cartoon people coming after me. (No, not actual cartoon people because they are not real.)

I've been trying to blog these last few days but keep getting distracted by something. If it's not other blogs and conversations, then it's just that something else comes along to pull me away from writing here. Maybe it's also that I haven't been able to really come up with something anybody but me would be interested in reading, and I
do want to make your visit here worthwhile.

So much of what I think about is of limited interest to others. In one hour, I'll be listening to my daughter's Internet radio show*, which she is doing with a friend this semester. (Last semester, she had her own show.) She left the house excited this morning, excited in a way different from the excitement she had last semester on the days when she was doing her own show. There really is something about the energy of collaboration with another person.

This is one thing, I think, that keeps me from blogging more often. It's just me here, writing to myself and hoping someone will come along and read it. Of course, it turns into a conversation when someone comments, but not until then. Once the conversation gets started, though, a mutual admiration society often ensues. People who "relate" to what you said chime in with some related nugget, which then changes the flavor and flow into something different.

Or, sometimes a contrary wind blows in if you say something that either comes across as somehow offensive or wrong or maybe just needing another perspective, for balance. For example, I am fairly sure that happiness is a state of mind more than just about anything else. It comes and goes, like all other states of mind. But I don't own the definition of happiness, so ... chances are, if you see it differently, you might say, "Hey, not so fast there, missy...."

I also find that comfort is nearly impossible. You know, being comfortable. I mean, you can go to great lengths to achieve comfort in your life by wearing clothes that feel good, or by using this or that appliance or device to enhance your experience. But as far as lasting comfort, I have been unable to find it. There is always some discomfort lurking in the background, sometimes out in full force in the foreground. It might be physical, or mental, or emotional, or some combination of all of these; but there never seems to be a time when I feel really comfortable.

I sometimes think this is just part of the plan here. You know, the whole "being human" shtick. If we get too comfortable, resting on our laurels and all that, we stagnate. So, we keep moving to avoid that stagnation and to (we hope) feel a little bit more comfortable in our discomfort.

Here I go speaking for you again! When I say "we" I am assuming you have thoughts that are similar to mine. Maybe you feel very comfortable and it wouldn't occur to you to even talk about it. Who knows.

Well, anyway, I hadn't blogged in awhile and wanted to just come say hello. (Hi.) I hope your year is getting off to a good start! Thanks for stopping by.


*The name of the show is actually
Eigenvectōr, but (as of this writing) the website is not yet updated with the new information.