Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is it convenient?

Dan Ariely is a behavioural economist. He gave this talk at TED about how we make decisions. As it turns out, according to his research, it really all boils down to one thing: convenience. How convenient is it to donate your organs? How convenient is it to answer a questionaire or apply for membership or discontinue a service? Does it matter what your beliefs are or your values? You could argue that they do. "I would never ________." According to Ariely, it depends. Remember those tech geeks in the '80's who knew 7 different computer languages? If we all had to know DOS-whatever, how many of us would be online? How many mommy blogs would we have out there? My guess is not many. Blogger made everything so convenient.

This all reminds me of The Good Samaritan study done at Princeton, as outlined in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. The researchers took a group of seminarians and asked them to give an extemporaneous talk on a given biblical theme. After answering a questionaire about why they had chosen to study theology, the researcher would send them over to give their talk. Some were given the topic of the relevance of the professional clergy to the religious vocation. Others were given the parable of The Good Samaritan. Along the way, they would come across a man who was slumped down, eyes closed, coughing & groaning. Of course, as a member of the clergy, they would all stop, wouldn't they?

As it turns out, no. With some of the cases, the researcher would look at his watch and tell them they were late, that they'd better head over, their audience was waiting. In the other cases, they would look at their watch, and say, "You've got a few minutes, but you may as well head over now."

Of the "late" group, only 10% stopped to help the man. 61% of the non-rushed group stopped to help. It didn't matter if they'd just had a reminder of The Good Samaritan, what really mattered was if they were in a rush. This reminds me of Christmas time at the mall, or as I like to call it, Gift Pressure Hell. People rushing everywhere, tempers shortened. It's the least giving time!

Back to convenience: how convenient is it to start a new exercise program or a new anything? How convenient is it to watch TV in your household? How convenient do you make it to clean out your car or do the laundry? Incidentally, I wonder how many people would have googled Malcolm Gladwell or Dan Ariely if I'd not have provided the links.

Perhaps convenience is one key to making a successful change to our behaviour. How can you streamline your life and create a system that makes change more convenient? Something to ponder.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A theme . . .

Two cards came in the post on the same day.

From my dear Yoga friend Rosemary. :-)

From Dearest Robbie

Coincidence? 2 cards from 2 friends with quotes both by Emerson. COOL! And then to continue the theme, I attended a Spirit School seminar led by my friend & mentor, Christen McCormack. The theme was "Recreating Your Life." I'll take some of that!

Christen says that so many of us have been brought up with a belief that life is supposed to be hard; that it's supposed to be a struggle:

We come to this life to learn and grow and our souls WANT us to enjoy it. Make the choice for happiness.

During our lunch break, I went for a walk with:

Susan finds a walking spiral on the property!

Standing by the maypole. :-)

We chose one area to focus on: career, health, home, etc. Here's the thing: when you work on one of those areas, the pleasant feelings of accomplishment tend to bubble into other areas of your life . . . what will you do differently today to recreate your life for tomorrow?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day of Rest

Mum's flowers

May your day be full of SWEETNESS. :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I have successfully failed

I have been trying to publish a fabulous graphic that I designed, along with a Dave Dobson story. Nothin'. I ditched the graphic, and I tried to publish just the story. Nothin'. I don't know if it's Blogger or Dave-beyond-the-grave, but I'm not going to waste any more time with a post. Incidentally, for you Dobsonians out there, it was his Elephants on the Island story. In the meantime, I think I'll go get a tattoo. Kidding. Back tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In my little cocoon of a river house, I was buffered from yesterday's events. Who am I kidding? I'm pretty buffered most of the time. And I'm not really a pop culture-current events kind of gal. I don't watch the news, and if weren't for tweets about Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett, I'd not have known until next week. [Mum will be reading this now saying, "What about them?] Anyway, Tony Robbins tweeted the following video clip yesterday, and John Morgan wrote a v. inspiring post on Celebrations. So here you go: CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE TODAY.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cowgirl Birthday

Mum asked me to help with a birthday cake; carrot cake, gluten free. YUM. The recipient is 30 and her sister told Mum she wanted "Dirty 30" on it. I added the "Ye ha!" I call it my Picasso Cowgirl:

Mum wanted the lasso to go around a moon. I drew a crescent and she said, "Perhaps you could fill it in." So I did. "It looks like she's lassoing a banana," she says. I hope this doesn't end up on Cakewrecks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I was blog bouncing when I came to this post. I don't know Carol, but I know what it feels like to lose a beloved family pet. So I added my condolences with the others:

Dear Carol,
I bounced to your blog from somewhere else & couldn't leave with out saying how sorry I am for your loss.

Anatole France said:
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

I really believe that. My two died within 6 weeks of one another and even the death of family members & friends did not compare to what I felt with Barkley & Remi.

The homeopathic remedy for grief is Ignatia. I ate it like candy and it did help. I won't say any cliches like "it gets better with time" blah blah blah. It gets different.

The depth of your pain is proportionate to how much you love. That's a BIG LOVE. Be gentle with yourself. I wish you peace in your heart as you move through this difficult transition. Hali

As I wrote this, and as I'm finding the Barkley & Remi links on my blog, I'm a bit teary. I am grateful for having had them in my life; and forever in my heart. And then I thought, Oh, dear. If she pops over to my blog from hers, the first thing she's going to see is that "Namaste Asshole" picture. Talk about first impressions. Oh well!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oxymoronic Bumpersticker

Chiro-sister & I were joking about this:

Namaste' means "The divine in me honours the divine in you." Have you seen those people with their peace stickers driving anything but peacefully? Perhaps you've even been on the receiving end of a non-peaceful hand gesture. You know; the angry peace activists. Well. We call this the Namaste Asshole Syndrome. And I've created the perfect bumpersticker. It reminds me of the mother I heard YELLING at her 3-year-old daughter: "BE NICE!" Oxymoron.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Auntie Tales

I had a WONDERFUL weekend with Mum & Pioneer Sister's kids, collectively called The Einsteiners. We were driving to Mum's friend's housewarming party and Little Sister was playing with the clippy-clopping noisy horse in the backseat. Mum said, "What should we name the horse?" And eldest brother says, "How about annoying?" Hahahaha

View at the party:


Funny way to spell "cool." Nope. It's spozed to say "GOAL" --as in soccer.

They had face-painting & an art tent for the kids. Nephew #2 (a.k.a. Dimples) soon was covered: arms, legs, and finally his whole face. I said to his older brother:
I'll bet you that when he's 21, he'll have tattoos and a motorcycle.
Older Brother: What are we betting?
Me: Lessee. You'll be 25 by then. How about a 6-pack of your favourite beverage?
Him: And if you win?
Me: Well, you get off easy because my favourite beverage is water.

Now for those of you who may raise a brow about my making bets of questionable beverage choices with my nephews--one word: polarity. Or in psycho-babble terms: oppositional. Both Dimples & Little Sister exhibit a bit of that pattern. Any direction, suggestion, whatever is met with an automatic "no." Come to think of it, it's a pattern throughout my family. Anyway, eventually in the next 10 years, Eldest will tell Dimples about our bet. And what will his response be but to prove me wrong? Thereby keeping his body tattoo-free. Just helping out my sister.

Speaking of bets, Eldest taught me & Dimples how to play poker. I got the change from my purse and divvied it up. Dimples took us to the cleaners. Pioneer Sister said, "Great. You're teaching my kids to gamble?" No, really it was Eldest teaching me.

As Pioneer Sister & I were having a cup of tea before heading out, Niece comes up to me and says,"Auntie Hal. Can I use your vibrator?" "Sweetie, it's called a percussor." Hahahaha Ah, kids.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day of Rest: Father's Day

He was smart and funny and called me Sweetie. He did all those Dad Things that we take for granted when we're children. He taught me how to ride a bike and built me a playhouse in the backyard. He met my mother in the Yukon:

Dr. Mark Holliday
I used to have a guy-friend in my teens who would phone to come over for a visit, and then he'd say, "Um. Is your dad going to be there? Do you think I could get him to crack my back?"

They got married and moved to California and had me:

"I do look like Daddy."

He was usually behind the camera, but here he is in a coupla formal portraits:

Passport Photo 1966

Christmas card 1969

He had a friend who used to say he looked like Gregory Peck.

He was an artist:

Dad painted this from one of his photos

Otter Falls, Canada

My father has been dead for half my life now. And I still feel his influence. And I see him in my sibs, especially my brothers. Composer Brother shuffles into the kitchen in the morning just like my father, and his personality is much like Dad's: smart, funny, brilliant, artistic. Watching Brother D joking around with his own children reminds me of Dad. So, in honour of my father, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you fathers out there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rainy Day Road

Spending day with Mum & Pioneer Sister's kids. Packed car up in torrential deluge Don't worry, dahling. You're water proof. Classic Mum.

Snapped a few pix on the way out:

LOVE the cows! These guys have a swanky set-up. There's a tunnel under the road so that they can switch fields. Cool. Now it's sunshiny and we're heading out. Back tomorrow. :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Even in the Bronx

I spent a bit of time on the backporch at Anne's because that's where I got the best cell phone reception. So I was all yackity-yack and I looked down, and there was a 4-leaf clover. I picked this one and taped it to a piece of paper with a note to Anne that she would find it at just the right time. Then I stuck it in a book in her kitchen. :-) Back tomorrow....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When sneakers just won't do

On the way to Jerry Stocking course, we saw this:

Me: Heels when you want them? What?
Anne: For those stiletto emergencies.
Me: Really? Wow, New York has everything!
[Sigh from the backseat] Anne's daughter: It's missing the "W." It's supposed to be "Wheels when you want them."
Me: Oh, well. I suppose that makes more sense. Not as glamorous, tho.

I checked out the website for Zipcar. Way COOL! If I were a City Girl [ as if! ] I might look into this.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

4 Phrases

What would you do if all you could say were these 4 phrases?

Go to lunch at awesome Indian restaurant, of course:

Hilarity ensues as Anne switches from pantomiming to note-writing on napkins. Love the look on Suzie's face!

Finally I waved at Anne & pointed at her food. "Sweetie?" I asked; an invitation to eat. I have to thank Anne. She indulged me for the whole weekend, because this is the only place we ate during the seminar. They have the best chai. The BEST, Jerry! This is Fenil:

Sweet tea from a Sweetie. :-)

She takes our visits in stride because she knows something is up when we talk or don't talk. They have tiny cups for the chai, so I brought in a Big Girl Cup. YUMmy.

We chatted with our 4 phrases to & from the restaurant. Anne walked up to a coupla police officers and said, "I care." She did the same with some homeless people. WOW. A friend of Jeff & Suzanne's just happened to walk by. It took a couple phrases for him to notice that things were a bit, er, different. It's easy to do the smile-and-wave; a bit harder to do a stop-and-chat when you're limited to 4 phrases. At one point, the "I'm confused," came out and Friend says, "You're confused? I'm confused! I'll talk to you later." And then we waved good-bye.

It doesn't seem to matter what the 4 phrases are. Last time was just as entertaining. For those of you who may be wondering the point of the exercise, I invite you to try it. Why? Because why not?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When internal pictures don't match

Our last night with Jerry Stocking, Anne & I had some time to kill. So we asked the front desk guy where we could go to sit down and have a cup of tea. He told us there was a place up the block on the corner. We were thinking cafe-restaurant-little-bistro.

He directed us to a convenience store. And yes, there was a place to sit:

If one of us wanted to stand. Not the tea house experience we were picturing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reminders Everywhere

This is a nice sign to see:

Even if this is the rest of it:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day of Rest

From Vicky-from-NY's backyard. BEAUTIFUL. HAPPY Sunday. :-) H.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Photos from Jerry Stocking Seminar

After much coaching from Jerry about "just get the faces," here's a nice shot of Suzanne & Jeff with Jerry.
Wayne's Harem: MJ, Adrienne, Mo. ;-)

Love this pic of Kristen & Paul. So sweet.

Pilar & Dimitrios

Hi Jamie. :-)

This photo doesn't do them justice, but Paul & Kristen decided to wear low-pants during lunch break with their underwear sticking out. How come you only see young men & no girls doing that?

Keeper-of-the-Keys, Wayne & Marjorie

Mark. Yeah, I don't know what he's doing here.

I love this photo because it shows so much activity. Mark & Kelly were stretching each other's backs, Marjorie is getting a shoulder massage, Jordan smiles for the camera, as does Suzanne. Rob looks away... and Jeff--again with the photo bombing! Brilliant. Oh, yeah. And it's a pretty nice shot of me & Anne together.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Night with Jerry Stocking and . . .

Jerry has an eclectic collection of music that he plays throughout his seminars. One of those musicians showed up for the course on Friday night as a surprise to Jerry. Someone-in-the-know just happened to bring a guitar. :-) Ladies & gentlemen:

Paul Ruderman. Check him out.

Paul & Jerry.

Very nice photo of Paul, Jerry, & Tao--yeah, I know. Not how you spell his name. I get it right below in my favourite photo:

We actually did some exercises Friday night, but I will wait til my next post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A few NYC images

George Washington Bridge

Arrival to Anne's sweet neighborhood

Bumper sticker for Mum. :-)

Electronic Mecca.

Couple skate.

On our way out of town.

End of the day . . . .

In New Rochelle at a diner. :-)

I'm slapping up some photos and will write about my Jerry Stocking NYC adventures in the next few posts. For now, I've got many busy's to attend to. Back tomorrow. :-) H.