Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An attitude of gratitude

I am re-discovering Unitarian Universalism again. The Reverend of the Unitarian Church I occasionally attend came back from Sabbatical this spring full of energy and fresh ideas. He has introduced a new program called "Whole Souul Living". This month's theme is Gratitude. The concept is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. "Like anything truly worthwhile, an attitude of gratitude requires intentional cultivation, paying attention to the inner life, the sources of inner strength and peace that is not entirely dependent on material things." (Morran) It doesn't come easy at first and it takes practice.

I started by writing down some of the standard easy ones: grateful for being alive, good health, a good job, Liberty etc., then I read Mike's essay again and thought more deeply about it.

I am grateful for the mentors I've had over the years. I am grateful for those people who tried to coach me during difficult times; for those who had the maturity, wisdom and presence of mind to not "fly off the handle" or throw a fit when I said or did something stupid. I am grateful for those who modeled mature civil conduct and made time to simply be there for me.

I am grateful for the people who I don't always get along with. Through these people I have learned to be more attentive to my interactions with others and to be more mindful of my responses. It doesn't always work but I keep trying.

I am grateful I don't have Credit Cards any more. Because of Credit Cards I learned to pay-as-you-go. This lesson was so difficult to learn that I had to take the class twice - I learned it the second time.

I am grateful for the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club of Colorado for being there and for letting me into their group. They are a great bunch. I've gone places I've never been before and done thing I've never done before and I've had a lot of fun doing it.

I am grateful for the flower I saw last Saturday while walking to the grocery store. All the leaves had fallen, everything was brown, and I encountered this solitary late bloomer. It had bloomed that very morning. - A single spot of color.

I am grateful for the calmer more civil and reasoned voices of the Unitarian Universalist movement and for the people of First Unitarian Society of Denver. There is another pathway somewhere between the teaching of my Baptist youth, that I abandoned 40 years ago, and the vitriolic rhetoric of the "New Atheists". I'm going to see where this road takes me.

The real exercise is to take time out each day to note the things I am grateful for (but not necessarily in a Blog post). Don't expect me to show up one day wearing sackcloth and ashes - I remain a non-theist - I'm just a "kinder gentler" non-theist.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why isn't faux pas spelled phopa?

As I drove to work this morning the sun was low in the southern sky, the light had that funky cold off-yellow color to it, and the streets were rutted with ridges of ice and snow. It reminded me a little bit of Junior Highschool; not a good mental state to start the day with.

I made amends for a social faux pas I committed yesterday. I said something I intended to be funny, unfortunately I used the "Don Rickles" technique which didn't go over well. I seem to make some of my worst mistakes when I try to be funny - must be some kind of deeply rooted character flaw.

I spent the better part of the day tracking down reports of some odd computer behavior but everyone I talked to gave me a different answer. The solution was to get everyone together in the same room and figure it out. A couple of things I've noticed are: often times people don't know what information is important, and they don't always know who to tell. I guess that's where I come in - in spite of the occasional faux pas.

Why isn't faux pas spelled phopa? WTF?!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

birding Crown Hill Park

I drove up to Crown Hill Nature Park Sunday and took the big telephoto lens. I may have arrived a little late in the day, Noon, but I spent an hour walking around the lake. It was cool and overcast all day; it didn't reach 60F today.

I saw:
  • American Coot
  • Northern Shoveler (male & female)
  • Pied-Billed Grebe (winter colors)
  • Crow (fly over)
  • Canada Goose
  • Northern Flicker
  • Black-Billed Magpie
  • American Kestrel (male).

View larger images at PicasaWeb.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Birding in Belmar Park

I went birding in Belmar Park in Lakewood Colorado early Saturday morning. I took the new telephoto lens and spent about an hour circling the park.

The telephoto is a little heavy at 4.5 lbs - add the camera and it's 6 lbs! I used auto focus part of the time but found manual focus to work better in some situations. Focusing on a small bird in a tree can be a little tricky; auto focus may be able to focus on the tree but not the bird and birds don't stay in one place for very long.

View larger pictures at picasaweb.