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April 22nd, 2007

dallas blooms

Today we spent a lovely, sun-and-cloud day at the Dallas Arboretum. Things bloomed.





The gardens were full of girls in their quincenera gowns, getting their picture taken, brides and grooms being posed, poised and readied for impending nuptials, toddlers more cheerful than even the usual cheerful-toddler-norm, and various fauna cavorting gently amid the fauna. I took dozens upon dozens of pictures, from which I'll make a video slide show.

We dined on Mexican food tonight, and then I walked our loyal dogs around the little pond.

I did spend a stray hour trying to join in the yard sale. I had had some notion that, like Who's, the community would gather during community yard sale day and sing "ah vous, flores", or some similar Who expression for "let's sell the unwanted gifts", but in fact I had but one customer, and most yards had no sale going on at all.

We did take advantage of Trash Out Day!, which let us take large items (in our case, a defunct television and some smaller electronics) for recycling without special arrangement in advance.

Tonight I've been working on a remix of a Dutch essay, adding to it Lisa DeBenedictis on remixing,
someone reading The Golden Rule, and Larry Lessig imploring us all to be forces for good.

I have been quite virtuous this week on my eating plan. We'll see if it pays off. It's coming alon nicely, but I need more bicycle-bell sound effects. I'm still amazed at how many "new technology" Dutch words are merely Dutch borrowings from the English term. It makes it easier to know what folks are talking about in this mix.

I re-read "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", which reminded me that devotion to the things that matter to one, as well as perspective, are important things to have.

Box Widget

I'm pleased to see LiveJournal add a way to embed media widgets. Let's see if it works. These are three tracks from a Negative Sound Institute release we'll issue in a couple of months. This was a huge omission here at LJ, now remedied.
One can click on an mp3 in the widget, and it will begin to play.

Box.net is one of many good resources for such widgets. I like it because it allows one to upload mp3s into storage there, without the hassle of putting them on one's own site.

The songs are "Driving through Rural Texas on Sunday Morning", "The Christmas Eve My Father Set Up the Telescope", and "Walking through Wildflowers". I'm still working out the title of the album, but so far I like Verian's suggestion, "Memories Pleasant", because each song is about a pleasant memory.


surviving life

This afternoon I found that I am now 3.8 pounds from my "goal weight". I've been pursuing this healthier lifestyle regime for some twenty three months now. I hope that I can cross this last hurdle.

This afternoon I fell asleep at four p.m., as soon as I got home from my meeting. I awoke near 7.
I hate to lose an afternoon's chance to get exercise, but, if anything, I regret that I did not get more sleep. Late night flights, of the type I did on Friday, tend to impact me, as I find it hard to sleep after a landing from such a flight.

This week involves more business travel, and a fair dollop of non-travel-related work to do. We sat down tonight and blocked out our potential vacation days this year. If things go as planned, this will be a year of short, fun trips rather than of a long, major vacation. A return to Manitoba, a return to the south Texas coast, and a return to the Bahamas look like the plan, along with trips to visit our families.

Friday I learned of the death some months ago from cancer of a business acquaintance just a few years older than myself. We were not close, though we got along fine, but the news shocked me a little. These things are part of life, but they seem so extraordinary. The Methodist church down the road--the "other" church, which we've visited but did not join, has a woman as its pastor who is about a year older than I am. By some measures, she had it all. She's helped build a huge church from a less-than-huge church. She's got a husband and a three year old son. She's the type of person who learned Spanish when she had a west Dallas posting, so that she could communicate better with people less comfortable in English.

She went in a few months ago, believing she had appendicitis. It turned out she had stage four cancer, originating in her liver but having spread. She's been impressive as she copes with this poor deal of the cards, and in some ways, she still has it all. But she has cancer, too.

Things like this remind me to appreciate what I have, because in the main, with some really palpable exceptions, I have been fortunate indeed. I lost my mother to peritoneal cancer, and I have another family member who is a cancer survivor. Cancer is not the spectre it once was,but there is still that odd feeling one gets wehn one is forced to contemplate it. The oddness is that so often, despite best efforts to catch these health things early, someone finds it has spread before they realize they have it. Given my age and that I must medicate for blood pressure, I suppose that a cardiac problem or a road accident are more likely threats than cancer. But hearing about the man who died made me think, for a moment, about the "what ifs" of cancer.

I would recite how I have had such a good life that even if it ended tomorrow, I would be grateful for the joy I've had. It's true, and yet one hates to disrupt the fabric of the other people in one's lives. But each day is one day to be lived, and the days are not endless. I try to remember.