Sunday, May 11, 2008


"geweldig" - a dutch word that doesn't have a direct English translation, but generally means an atmosphere of warmth, welcoming, peace, and joy.

I'm developing a Sunday habit. It begins with a short trip to John and Kristen's house. There might be food...or not. There's usually chips and soda. There might be beer. What is consistent is the fun, relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. Sometimes we just chat. Earlier, Kristen was finishing some laundry while John and I played Wii. I tried my hand at bowling for just the 2nd time. John and I both did great (as you can see by the pic), both setting new personal records

Now they're playing some crazy rabbit game while I update my blog and we listen to Groove Salad. Friends, video games, ambient chill-out music... what more can you ask for.
It's the perfect way to end the work week and start my day of rest.

Truly geweldig.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

on top of the world

"Chinese climbers bearing the Olympic flame have reached the summit of Everest, the world's highest mountain.

Chinese television showed the team of climbers, carrying special high-altitude torches, reaching the summit at 0920 local time (0120 GMT).

Huddled in the snow they unfurled flags and cheered for the cameras.

Correspondents say China is hoping the dramatic feat will counter some of the damaging publicity from the protests during the torch's international relay.

Perfect conditions

The team - made up of both Tibetans and Han Chinese - set off several hours before dawn from their camp at 8,300m.

Low winds and a clear sky provided perfect climbing conditions for the six-hour ascent of the 8,848m (29,030 feet) high summit.

At the weekend heavy snowfall had prevented a previous attempt, and badly damaged several of the high-altitude camps.

The climbers, dressed in red padded anoraks bearing the Beijing Olympic logo, passed the flame between several torches as they traversed the icy slopes on the final steps to the summit.

Holding up Chinese and Olympic flags, they cheered "Beijing welcomes you!" and "One World, One Dream", the official slogan of the Beijing Olympics.

The first and last of the torch-bearers were Tibetan women.

"We have lit this torch on the top of the world for harmony and peace," said one of the mountaineers.

Security was very tight for the event, with other climbers being banned from the top of Mount Everest, which is known in China as Mount Qomolangma.

Both China and Nepal sealed off their sides of the mountain and the ascent organisers kept the exact plans a secret because of fears it might draw protests from pro-Tibet activists.

Human rights activists have been angered by the crackdown on anti-Beijing protests in Tibetan areas of China in March that turned violent.

The main Olympic torch, which is running separately, is continuing its relay through China.

It was carried through the southern city of Guangzhou on Wednesday past cheering crowds with no reports of disruptions.

It is scheduled to visit every province in China before arriving in Beijing several days before the Olympics begin on 8 August.

The international leg of the torch's tour was marred by protests in several cities - including London, Paris and San Francisco - by activists critical of China's human rights record."



Saturday, May 03, 2008


I don't know if the abbreviation "ht" means anything in your world, but in mine it stands for "hands together". My piano teacher writes it on my weekly "homework" when there's something she wants me to practice playing with both hands - usually it's scales.

A few weeks ago she had me start learning... I don't know what the technical name is but I call them 'double octave scales' because I literally play through two octaves. The fingering is a little different, but learning to play them one-handed wasn't too hard. However, when I try to play them with both hands at the same time, my fingers do a sloooooow craaaaawl up the keys. It's true with everything I learn to play. One-handed is fairly easy, but my pace is significantly slower when both hands are working together (or trying to).

The other day, when I was practicing, I started drawing parallels between "ht" and life. It's always easier and faster for me to do things on my own. I know how I want them done, I don't have to take the time to explain anything... I can just do it and move on to something else. But just like single-handed piano playing, single-handed working doesn't look or sound as beautiful. In fact, it looks and sounds a little empty. A task may get accomplished more quickly, but.... so what?

Inviting others to join me, or offering to join them, means that our pace will be slower. It will take time to get in sync. But just like two hands can play more notes, two people can accomplish more work, reach more people, have a greater impact. And the sounds are more beautiful, more full and complete because there's more than one voice.

It was a great reminder for me, not to be more patient necessarily, but to find true enjoyment in sharing my life with others - regardless of the pace.