Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Imperfect Appreciation January-February 2021

Imperfect Appreciation   
January-February 2021

Wow, 2021 started immediately with incredible optimism that the 2021 would bring back some normalcy and we would soon be embracing the "New Normal" without Covid-19  dictating our social behavior and even perhaps a new more embracing political climate. 
One uniquely perspective however got it right: 

Somewhere right after the New Years I found the words imperfect appreciation in my brain.  I can't even remember exactly what brought that on as this point. However the idea  has gone through several interpretations since then and who knows where it will be tomorrow? I wonder what the idea would mean to others? How would it be applied or interpreted, or considered. Please do not think I am talking about Wabi Sabi because I am 100% American and even more obtuse I'm a native Texan. But it does cross some of the same themes. Definitely it comes with age.

Of course the first drunken act of 2021 was on January 6 with the storming of the United States Capital.

Jan. 10 brought a little winter surprise to Central Texas, Austin kids got to play in the snow, some of them for the very first time in their lives. 

The area picked up 1-2 inches that hung around a couple of days.

Since it was a Sunday parents could get out and scrape up enough to make some small Snow people with the kids.

However most January days were Sunny and I continued to invent projects to pass the time:

We decided to add to the back yard grandkid playground. I found an old tire, got a bag of cement and sand and made a Tether ball pole.

Brought back memories of working concrete construction way back in the day.

I found some pallets in the neighborhood. I took them apart for the wood and made a table.

I wanted this first wood project to reflect where it came from. The rough cut wood used for pallets is not consistent in any way. Since I did not have the tools to improve on that much like a table saw or power planer the intent was to simplify using what I had: a hand electric jig saw and a power oscillating sander. 

Dreaming of a table saw for my next wood project.

This tree has been neglected for a long time, so I removed the grass to transplant in the back yard and mulched. hopefully it will survive a few more droughts now.

For over 50 years this drive way was trying hard to survive atop Black Gumbo:
Again I revived some concrete skills and filled the cracks.

Image result for black gumbo soil texas
Also called Houston Black or Texas Vertisol, this sticky, heavy clay can wreak havoc on concrete building foundations, especially during drought or heavy rains, because it expands when wet and and contracts when dry much like a sponge. 

A very Special Drunken 2021 Valentines Gift for Texas:

A series of 5 back to back winter storms marched through Texas

There were two other big snows in Central Texas in our time but never anything like this one.

Snow is so bright, gotta wear shades.

The Official Record Low for Austin, Texas was 6 degrees.

Used my Texas Snow Plow for the first time in all my Born Days!

Funny that Seattle had yet another record snow the same exact time.
SNOWBALL for sure!

The winter Storm in Texas was called a 120 year event by our Governor Abbot. *(Some Lessons are very hard to learn). This event led to over 40% of the households in Texas to loose electricity for days. Then just as the power started to return and the freezing temperatures dissipated the pipes all across Texas began to burst and leak millions of galloons of water until major water systems throughout Texas had to be shut off completely for days leaving 40% of the homes without water. To this date over two weeks later many homes are still without water and some without power.

Climate Change is bringing catastrophic weather events on a increasingly frequent basis. *Any idea of 100 or 120 year weather events no longer exist. 

City of Austin are starting to install Smart Water Meters and our neighborhood is the Pilot.

You download an App and you can monitor all things water on your smart phone.

The meter reader is a short timer here in Austin.

Imperfect Appreciation, what does it mean?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Love VS 50

 Love VS 50    

1970    2020

We began dating my senior year, December 1968. Jeff and Roxanne convinced her to  invite me to the Arlington Heights High School Backwards Dance.


 Lynn had joined my church All Saints Episcopal. We attended pre-marriage class with Father Dewolf. Since we were getting married in December during advent, we had to get the Bishops, permission. We were allowed to use the Chapel, perfect it was a small wedding.

Saturday, December 19, 1970
Are all 50th Anniversary's on the same day?

Roseann & Vance, Lynn's aunt and uncle  hosted the wedding reception in her Ft. Worth home. Lynn's' mom Peggy, and my Father George, My Grandparents Nandy and Muzz and Lynn's' Nana and PopPop. Martti, Lorraine, Roxanne, Ginger and Tommy with Brother Dave and Susan up front. On the Launch pad in our 60'Chevy to 2020 and Beyond..

Muzz and Nandy's 50th
Married Friday, December 8, 1922
Friday, December 8, 1972, Hmm, they were married young also in December. I read a book once on Universal Patterns.

Sister Ginger and Lynn serving Cake and Punch at Muzz and Nandy's 50th

We recall going to my Grandparents 50 year Anniversary celebration held at their First Baptist Church in Grandview, Texas. My father remarked to me that a 50 year anniversary is  pretty incredible and of course the  celebration is an event not to be missed. I recently checked out the statistics and it is somewhere around 7% of marriages that make the 50 year mark. We do not find it "that" remarkable. For one thing I am the forever optimist and Lynn has the genes of a Missouri native American so her senses are as full as they can get along with her intuition. Ours lives and careers centered around family and community so the supportive environment I am sure contributed to this moment. We were sure our purpose in life was our children, only to find out later that it wasn't them at but it was our Grandkids!

From Ft. Worth, Arlington, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Mustang Island, The Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters, Seattle and Puget Sound waters, and now back to Austin, Texas we are grateful for the friends, family and communities that made each of those years a shared learning experience full of love and gratitude. We don't look back often, mostly enjoying right now 

Speaking of "Incredible", this picture Is Incredible to us. Most of the Austin Family is in this one year old pic, We hope to update as soon as we can all gather again with the entire Austin Family.

Monday, November 30, 2020

October-November 2020 Time Will Tell

First I must give thanks  to Thomas Logan who introduced me to  several books during our early years that stimulates the mind and encourages questions. Our generation, as most, searched for the answers to the challenges they inherit from the previous generations. It's the age old quandary of what am I doing here and how do I proceed. So certain books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, (which of course stimulated research on Buddism).  The Teachings of Don Juan and  a text on Quantum  Physics, among other readings that might lead to a direction. 

Given the predicament of the covid-19 crises it seems that we again have time to think about such things and the idea of "Time" has naturally come to my mind for not so unique reasons. I again turned to looking at a couple of sources. I recently watched a documentary on Albert Einstein. Time is one component of the essential theory's to our modern age.

To put time into human terms though takes a bit more so Buddhism again provides the best complement (I believe ) to the complexity of Quantum Physics. The following was taken from a Buddhist website that I misplaced the link to : (just Google Zen Buddhist explanation of time)

 Very basically, in most schools of Buddhism, it is understood that the way we experience time -- as flowing from past to present to future -- is an illusion. Further, it could be said that the liberation of Nirvana is liberation from time and space.

"Time is not separate from you, and as you are present, time does not go away. As time is not marked by coming and going, the moment you climbed the mountains is the time-being right now. If time keeps coming and going, you are the time-being right now."

As for time being illusory and the universe being nothing but a series of separate "instants," like frames in a movie, that's basically correct. Everything we call "the past" is, literally, nothing but present memories. Likewise, everything we call "the future" is nothing but present memories inverted, or rearranged, to form a prediction or expectation. The appearance of "time" is little more than a trick of memory, as the Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Ornament Scripture) says. You can easily discern this for yourself: simply figure out what it is you consider "the past" and "the future." You will discover that it is nothing but thoughts--nothing but memories, nothing but expectations, nothing but mental commentary. It's "all in your head," so to speak. There's really no such thing as time. There is really only Now--an eternally present Present with no beginning and no ending. Everything is completely new, distinct, and original every instant, with no real "change" or "motion" at all. The mystic-philosopher Heraclitus, explaining this point, said, "A man cannot step in the same river twice."

Zen Buddhism, in particular, stresses this very significant insight. Here's the Sixth Patriarch, Ch'an Master Hui-neng:

"In this moment there is nothing that comes to be. In this moment there is nothing that ceases to be. Thus there is no birth-and-death to be brought to an end. Thus the absolute peace in this present moment. Though it is at this moment, there is no limit to this moment, and herein lies eternal delight."

When you transcend your thinking mind in the realization of your own pure, timeless, ever-present Awareness, then the illusion of time completely collapses, and you become utterly Free of the samsaric cycle of time, change, impermanence, and suffering. This, my friend, is nothing at all to be "depressed" about! Rather, the fact that your own Buddha Mind exists beyond time, in THIS very moment, is itself the key to your permanent and eternal (timeless) Liberation.

I recall some college course that discussed religions and when we got to the Buddhist religion I remember the professor remarking that "all events in time are equal" Meaning that no moment in time is any more important than another. He went on to talk about the music of the Buddhist having no crescendos or decrescendo. All moments in the music piece are of equal importance. I certainly do not regret participating as fully as possible in the Western music, especially Jazz. It is easy to appreciate the value of meditative sounds.

As the Admiral and I are both approaching our 7th decade in these bodies, looking in any direction it is certainly difficult to find a moment more important than another. There are many blessings given to use in this time of Pandemic. The small stuff has found its equality with all those other things that we thought were so much more important.

Moments of October & November

Drew has the gift of making funny faces gene. Fun making faces and laughing.

Sweeter than Pie.

Halloween Hoops

Dad and Big D constructing

Frame complete another day for the finishing touches.

I had fun remembering how to change a flat tire, how many years has it been? 

A bucket of loose lego parts + hours of fun making Star Wars ships for the next movie.

A creek of leaves

Central Texas Fall colors on a clear warm day 

nd he inherited plenty of art genes from his
California Nona!

Grandaughters Liv and Ella living in Brooklyn together

See You Later Santa

The final renovation project

Believe me, there IS Zen in imperfection.

Have a Guava Christmas

A very Sweet 16 Birthday in Brooklyn

"There's really no such thing as time. There is really only Now--an eternally present Present with no beginning and no ending."