Cat Fur and Laptops

computer cat

Tuesday night Annie (my laptop) went on the fritz, so Wednesday morning I brought her in to get checked out at the tech gadget hospital. She ended up staying overnight. Luckily, it wasn’t anything major, like that dreaded blue screen problem I had with another laptop several years ago. Apparently, cat fur is able to get into the inner workings of a computer and if there is enough of it, it will clog up the thingys that make it work. The tech doctor gave Annie a good cleaning under her hood and I am now back in business.

While I was waiting to pick her up, 3 people in line ahead me were bringing in their Smartphones to be fixed. I found out the majority of the tech gadget hospital’s revenue is made from people dropping their Smartphones in water (lately swimming pools). What dipshit brings their Smartphone in the pool? Apparently, at least these 3 people did. I am working on not judging others, but sometimes I have to roll my eyes.

Being without access to social media for almost forty-eight hours wasn’t that hard and it gave me a chance to think about, how much time I spend reading other people’s blogs, tweeting, checking email, snooping around Facebook and Pinterest. I spend way too much time on Pinterest!

When personal computers and cell phones first came out, I said I would never get either one. I did just get rid of my flip phone a few months ago and went back to a landline, but my Annie is staying. I use her for everything and she helps me continue writing. Everyday I either blog, write essays or rewrite my book. If I had to do it with pen and paper my fingers would have worn out long ago. Annie helps me be a better writer along with her friend Ms. Spellcheck.

The Internet introduced me to other writers, famous and some not so much, all of whom I would never have known. It also turned me on to Buddhism and many of it’s teachers (this is a shortlist); Thich Nhat Hahn, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Chris Grosso and Brad Warner. YouTube gives me front row seats to lectures about Buddhism, spirituality and contemporary philosophy. I could never have learned as much as I have in such a short time before the Internet. Libraries are still one of my favorite places to hang out (second to cemeteries) but there’s nothing better than sitting in my living room, alongside my cats, whose fur will eventually clog up my laptop again.

That being said, taking a break from Annie gave me a chance to put all the Buddhist and spiritual teachings I learned into practice. I spent more time outdoors, played with my cats and actually cleaned my patio. I spent more time “being” than doing, although I did finally read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird that has been sitting on my coffee table almost 2 weeks.

bird by bird

I can thank the Internet for introducing me to her. She’s been around for many years but I never heard of her. Actually it was her picture that caught my attention.

anneI don’t know any middle-aged white women with dreads. Actually I do know another one but she isn’t a writer.  Bird by Bird is a book for aspiring writers like me. I go to a creative writing class at a senior center once a week to learn basic grammar, but Lamott’s book goes into detail about how to be a good writer.  She tells us how to get over writer’s block and stuff like that. I probably could find that information on the Net but its nice to actually read a real book. I don’t own a Kindle or whatever else they have out there and I can guarantee you, I won’t ever. I like the feel of a real book and flipping through the  pages. You can’t do that with an eBook and don’t get me started about the iPad. That thing makes me dizzy!

Lamott writes that we can find inspiration for a story anywhere if we pay attention. That’s how I got the idea for this post today. Actually, I thought of it yesterday and wrote it in a small notebook I keep close to me for the sole purpose of jotting down ideas, so I don’t forget.

From now on I will make it a habit to unplug at least one day a week and if I’m really brave, a whole weekend.



Zen and the Art of chopping Veggies

be here now

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” ~ Alan Watts

I saw this quote a few different times this week, so today I decided to “just chop up the veggies” for my stir-fry dinner. It wasn’t easy (at least for me anyway). My mind kept talking to me, trying to distract me from just being in the present moment… cutting the veggies.

Another quote from Alan Watts popped in my head, “thoughts are just noise.” Yeah, there is definitely a lot of noise in my head sometimes. It even wakes me up in the middle of the night (which is really annoying).

After I was finished preparing the veggies, I thought about my mind wandering, chattering away and thought, Isn’t wanting to get rid of chatter and wanting to be in the present moment, a form of attachment?

When I get frustrated for not achieving my goal of “quieting my mind”, then isn’t that a form of suffering?

Looks like I need to contemplate that some more…



Don’t Let Idiots Ruin Your Day


I meditate to become a better listener and hopefully a better person. When that doesn’t happen I beat myself up. Alan Watts (in one of his dharma teachings) has given me another perspective. Believing that meditation would help me improve my listening skills and/or help me be a better person, is nothing more than staying hung up on the future (which he says never comes) … instead I should just be “Grooving with eternal peace.” In other words, live in the present moment.

Ok, I will do that but I am “stuck” when it comes to how I can stop myself from getting pissed off about the behavior of others. There are certain “triggers” that set me off.
Examples: 1. People who hurt/neglect animals or other humans who cannot defend themselves (kids, elderly, disabled)

2. People who want to impose their will on to others by force (legally or otherwise by creating rules that they think we should all live by… because it makes them feel better)

These two behaviors make me crazy (I already know I have no control over someone’s behavior except they are sometimes successful at controlling mine, via creating and enforcing rules) and I have trouble not getting myself sucked in. I find myself coming to the rescue and end up getting so angry I think about the situation all day or for several days. I end up allowing those idiots to ruin my day… well, that may be an over statement, but I do allow them to hang around inside my head far too long.

Any suggestions? I can’t be the only one with this problem…