Wednesday, December 23, 2009


So I corrected my cousin who said that it was a cost to a religious person when they fast (i.e. they would be "losing" the opportunity for food, and thus happiness.) I told him that it is a privilege and benefit to fast, because it gets one closer to their path.

Later I asked the Zen priest what he thought and he disagreed with both of us. He said in Zen we try to do things for neither gain or profit.

At lunch with my daughter and wife, I asked my daughter what she thought about my theory that if it gives happiness to do things without gain, then that's a gain. She said, "let me tell you what I've been thinking about." And she went on about something that sounded very interesting, but she'll have to write down what it was all about. One thing I do remember is that (in the book she was reading) people of privilege tend to think more in "bad and good," "right and wrong," etc., while people on the fringes tend to see the whole picture (outsiders?). All for $29.28 at Mothers (I got to pay).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Texas Capital

This is laying on the floor and shooting straight up. We walked 7 miles (the height of Mt. Everest) to take this picture. The security guard told us about becoming a Texas Ranger. You need to pass a test, kill someone in the commission of a crime, and have political connections. There are 123 of them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Simplistic and Making People

He thinks that my effort to simplify Zen to the idea of awakening (not really my idea) is simplistic... which I'm sure it is, especially compared to the Tibetan Buddhism that he practiced (s?). I do have a love for simplistic ideas, especially after reading that Bertrand Russell said you should be able to explain anything to a ten year old. I found a lot a college professors who did not agree with that.

On another front, a man is furious with me because I disagree with his idea that we should "make people (good)." The idea scares the daylights out of me. Hitler had a similar idea, all with good intentions. I'd much rather help at providing opportunities, and then let people discover their own paths.

Now back to the painting that is almost finished. Each night I show it to my wife and she says, "how come you are showing me the same painting every night." I try to tell her it is better today than it was yesterday. But only the hairdresser knows the difference.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


In the midst of dreaming this am, I twisted by neck. Finally found the heat rub and felt my neck burning as I sat two periods of zazen.

Am trying to figure out what it means to "find refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha" which is something Buddhist's say. So as I sit, I say, "I find refuge..." and then words pop into by head.

Today it became clear (as in, tomorrow something else will become clear) that the Dharma, reduced to its bare essential, is simply getting one's information from being awake. From being there, or better yet, here. The Buddha is him who discovered this rather simple and simplistic approach to life. As well, it is that part of us that is awake. And further, it is who we are when we are awake. The Sangha is the cheer leading squad that supports us in our endeavor, starting from within and becoming all things.

So then I tried to eat a carrot, a celery and a cracker with peanut butter for lunch (part of which I shared with my sewing teacher). But a couple of hours later I was starving (as if an American could starve) and ate a 330 calorie bag of peanuts.

When I got home I ate and ate for a few hours... luckily there was neither fried chicken nor chocolate cake around, or I would have gone past my calories for the day. I'm under now for a few weeks.

I watched John Balusi in "the Best of Saturday Night Live" and saw not only what a genius he was but how much his talent relied on his suffering. I heard a wonderful talk today by Brother ChiSi about, among other things, the wisdom that can be derived from suffering.

I'm spending more time than a day now on each painting... will have another done tomorrow. I'm disappointed that people rather comment on Facebook about Joan Lipkin's and my new blog on the State of Marriage. Maybe Facebook is the new blog. What's next?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mt. Everest, so to speak.

We made it to the top of Mt. Everest. The descent begins. If you look very very carefully at the photo above you might see us. It is 5.57516129 miles up... unless you retrace your steps because you are lost. That's straight up, as the rocket flies. But figuring a 45 degree slope, it is 7.88446871 miles up. Our next challenge!

In case you doubt whether we really accomplished the walk, I thought I'd prove it with this iphone data and map. Even the scientists in Copenhagen are impressed that such a walk could be accomplished under such challenging conditions.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

So two and a half

years ago I retired so I could paint with a brush... and, after being swept away by digital drawing, I'm finally back at it. Don't want to do anything now except paint with this little brush of mine. But I might start becoming a little dimensional someday soon after I finish off a dozen little canvases that I bought with a retirement gift card.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tastin' Austin Air (version 2)

Above is my painting for the exhibit below. Hope someone I know buys it ($100) so that I can visit it. It's a good one!

This magazine from the Blanton Art Museum in Austin was on my desk. The painting is by Matta, done in 1946, the year of my birth. A few days ago I said to myself that I wanted to make a painting this good. Then unconsciously I used the same colors!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Social Change: Is this me?

Social Change
1) Stop problem at root cause.
2) Repair damage.
3) Take steps to prevent it from recurring.

So the group leader asks, "Is this me?" pointing at my drawing. "No," I say, "I've been drawing this since 1959" (actually it was 5th grade, but I was having a senior moment). "Have you perfected it?" he asked. "No, but I have a few years left," I replied.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Forest Fire

The bird put out the forest fire one drop at a time.

352 Calories

Well, back to my lowest weight for a few months. That's indicating to me that I'm moving in the right direction and have survived one holiday event. The turkey soup is almost gone, and if I don't choke to death on one of the little bones that it is laced with, I should be ok.

Anatomy Lesson and Love