Friday, September 29, 2006

It's a Shame About BNU

I have been taking classes online through Barnes and Noble for the past few months. These classes have been really interesting and a great way to learn about new topics. I have really enjoyed all the classes I have taken. And the best part - they are free!

So, now that I have come to rely on the classes and enjoy them so much, the powers that be at B&N have decided to do away with the courses. They are going to an all book club format. I will miss the exchanges I have had with all of the interesting people I have met in my studies. I will miss the information and the structure the classes had. I will so miss BNU!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A New Book Club Season

Tonight is the start of a new book club year for me and our group. Tonight we are talking about the book "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory. The book was set in Tudor England and recounts the life of Mary Boleyn, the sister of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. I thought the story was quite shocking in terms of life in the Court in 1550s. Ms. Gregory is a PHD in history specializing in the Tudor era. I have been reading internet articles all about the historical figures portrayed in this book, only to find out that there are many inaccuracies in the actual novel. Historians stress that this book is historical fiction and is in opposition to many known facts. Why would a PHD include so many fallacies in her novel? To make it spicier and more interesting for readers in the 21th Century? It is a shame. People will take this novel for fact. It will be even worse when the movie comes out in 2007. I liked the book, but I am now disappointed to find several points were pure imagination. Oh well, I did search the Internet for more information on the subject, so maybe some good did come out of the reading. Read it yourself and you will see.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why Do I do it?

Why do I continually over schedule myself? I am really beginning to think I have some form of ADD. I think I get bored if I don't have a million things to do. This week:

Tuesday - First painting class
Wednesday - League Meeting
Thursday - Cosmopolitan Book Club Meeting
Friday - My dad is in town to visit and stay the night
Saturday - Tai Chi class in the morning, the whole Morrison family at our house in the afternoon
Sunday - Finish reading the 661 page book I chose for my other book club - I have to lead the discussion on Monday night and bring a dessert

Don't get me wrong, I do like all these things I do. I just need a nap.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Peace in Zen

I have been taking a course online in Zen. It has been a fascinating class for me. I have been practicing Zen meditation each morning after I wake up. I have found it to bring peace in my life.

Here is a phrase that really touched me

"Don't look at the faults of others, Just look at your own deeds, Done and undone" - The Buddha

I have also enjoyed the writings of Dr. Brenda Shoshanna in her book "Zen Miracles." She has been a great instructor for our class and I find her word to be very wise. She says,

"We can only take care of the world we are living in - our own actions and deeds. As we stop focusing upon the mess of others and keep our own worlds in order, things all around fall into place. And our irritation ceases."

Check her out - she is an amazing teacher and woman.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kids in a Room

Yesterday, Bill and I went to Southern Pines to see his parents and his visiting sisters. Bill's sisters, Jeanne and Sally, are visiting with each of their children, Tyler and Matthew. We went to a lovely brunch at the Mid Pines Country Club. The kids were very well behaved and we all had a nice time. After brunch, we went back to his parent's home. Why is it that if there are children in a room with a bunch of adults there is no adult conversation? We just really sat around watching the play and being annoyed by their toys. No one really speaks except when related to the kids. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing both kids. I just wonder why this phenomena always happens.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Running Again

Bill and I got up yesterday morning at 5:50 am to go running. It was still dark when we left the house. Heck, the sun wasn't up by the time we returned home. As I was running in the dark, I kept thinking that it was pretty dangerous to be out by myself. I could be picked up by an evil person and never seen again. Luckily, there were a few other insane people out at that hour running or walking. It turned out I had a good run and survived the morning. It was horrible to wake up, but I felt good when I was done.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Remember...

I remember 5 years ago today. I had an appointment in the morning and did not arrive to work at Midway Airlines until just after 9 am. I had not turned on the radio in the car, so I knew nothing of what had happened. I said hello to my colleagues when Carrie told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I was completely confused. My first question to her was "How did the pilot not see the building?" I quickly asked how they would get the plane out of the building. Was there a crane tall enough to lift out the plane? I assumed the plane in question was a small private plane that somehow got off course. Carrie told me the airplane was American Airlines. I still did not understand what she was talking about. How could an American Airlines plane get so far off radar that it hit a building?

As news reports came in, things began to become clearer. I remember our director bursting out of his office to say a plane had hit The Pentagon. I remember the frantic scramble to make sure that our own planes made it to the ground safely. I remember watching the towers fall on TV.

I remember being so happy to hear my friend Devi's voice. She was an international flight attendant for United working from NYC. She had been asleep during the attacks and only awakened when her father called her. I reached her on the first try at about noon. I remember thanking my lucky stars that both Devi's dad and I were able to get through. Too many people could not get through to their loved ones.

I remember watching TV all night watching the recaps of the day, the names of the dead scrolling the bottom of the screen, and the debris where 2 buildings had stood 24 hours earlier. I will remember 9/11/01 always.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Need More Time!!!

Don't we all? I recently started an online class on Zen thinking. The first lesson was about zazen, the practice of sitting and breathing. Our instructor suggested that we would get up to 1 hour of zazen with practice. It sounds nice, but I can't imagine sitting still for 1 hour! I did sit zazen for about 10-15 minutes this morning. I have felt good all day and will do it again, but an hour? I really don't think I could spare the time. I have my husband, my dog, exercising, work, 5 classes, JLDOC, 2 book clubs...what have I done to myself?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Day Without Labor

Three days is the perfect amount of time for a weekend. We have a great Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, we went to Southern Pines to visit Bill's parents. They took us to a wonderful German restaurant. We have a fantastic meal and a good visit. On Sunday, we did almost nothing. We slept in, read, and watched a bit of TV. I even worked on my scrapbook a bit even though I never got out of my pj's. We had Monday to run errands and get organized for the week. It really was perfect.

I just need to figure out how to have every weekend be a 3 day weekend!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Field Museum

We were very lucky to visit The Field Museum and see Sue, the most complete T-Rex ever found. We also saw the amazing King Tut exhibit. It was fascinating to see artifacts that were entombed with the boy king 3000 years ago. There were pendants and amulets on display that were actually wrapped in the bandages of Tut's mummy. The pieces were still as beautiful and vibrant as the were all those years ago when they were first made. If you can see this exhibit, it is worth every penny.

Fabulous Art

If you love Impressionist Art, then there is no place in the US like The Art Institute of Chicago. We spent a great deal of time looking at the masterpieces in this museum. There were Reniors, Monets, Rodins, and Degas - just to name a few. We also viewed Grant Wood's American Gothic and Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. Look em up.

Gimme a Cheezborger!!

While in Chicago, we ate at The Billy Goat Tavern. The tavern was made famous by SNL with a skit of John Belushi yelling "Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger" at the customers. The restaurant is located under Michigan Avenue and you would never find it if there was not a marker prompting you to go downstairs. It looked a little scary from the outside, but the burger was great.

My Kind of Town

Bill and I went to Chicago to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful trip. We stayed Downtown at a hotel just off the Magnificent Mile, a section of Michigan Avenue famous for its great shopping. You know I loved that. We were not too far from The Chicago River either.