Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Here I am. Off to ride my trusty steed now (mi bicicleta).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

From the Tao Te Ching

Each day a dashboard widget on my desktop displays some lines from Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching, The Book of The Way. I made these miniature enso with pretend little hanko to go with today's daily Tao.
Click on the illustration for a larger view. The shadowy square shape you see in the upper right hand corner is the logo of The University of Arizona bleeding through. It's a red square with the words, Extended University, in black underneath.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Snake medicine

In my dream I was up on the Navajo reservation with a friend. We were outside her grandmother's hogan in the tall grasses. I picked up two translucent green snakes that I found near a juniper tree. I held one in each hand. Later, the aunt said I carried snake medicine--that those snakes I held bite with a venom for which there is no antidote. I woke up with the green color of the snakes fresh in my mind. Here's a sketch of them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A cloudy day : )

Today was cloudy and cool(er) all day. Yay! The high temperature was only 82ºF. Looking across the Rillito from my bedroom and patio, I saw a thick white ribbon of clouds wrapped around the dark blue Catalinas. In the afternoon it rained quite hard; the Rillito is still flowing many hours later. After my usual morning routine of looking for teaching and other jobs, writing cover letters, and applying to jobs via the internet, I rode to the university area. Ahhh, the cool monsoon air smelled of creosote. I love hearing the sound of water trickling down the streets, under my bicycle tires, and the bigger splashing from car tires. Because of the coolness and absence of strong sunlight, I didn't need to drink any water on the entire ride there. Usually, I drink most of a water bottle each way.
The University area is teeming with people now that the fall semester has started, and all over Tucson there is much more traffic. Even the bicycle lanes are busier. I drank a tall glass of hot rooibos with rose tea at epic café while writing a letter to a friend. I saw Chi & Rodd ride by on their bicycles--or shall I say, Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster, now that they have offically married.
Back at home I ate a bowl of split pea soup made with carrots, onions, parsley, and spices. No surprises in the bathtub tonight. The night before last and the night before that, I found mourning dove feathers and blood stains in the bathtub. Darci found the little bird dead on Sadie's dog bed where Jesse had deposited it. Probably a gift for Sadie. The next night, I entered my room to Jesse crouched under my desk, batting around her prey, a dead, bloody, four-inch mouse. That's what she does, she's a cat.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Evening snack

Just in from a walk with Yuki. Before that, I was at Singing Bird Sangha, the Thich Nhat Hanh meditation group I sit with in Tucson. Now, I am eating a yummy, warm sandwich of crunchy salted natural peanut butter with fruit jam on whole wheat sourdough toast and drinking a tall glass of soy milk to which I've added kuro goma kinako 黒ごまきな粉 (black sesame seed powder), a Japanese treat that my friend Chi gave me. It makes the soy milk taste sesame-y and naturally sweet.
On our walk, I saw that the night blooming cerius had opened with the light of the still bloated full moon. So, I took a picture. Here it is.

And the following photos I took last night on my way to Himmel Park with Yuki--Prickly pear, cholla, and flowering cholla.

At Himmel, we stumbled upon the mini luau and dance rehearsal of the Tucson Polynesian Club. Yuki got a discarded rib to chomp on and I got to listen to lovely Polynesian music and watch hula dancing. They'll perform in front of Old Main on Wednesday wearing their traditional dress. I plan to go see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The foods I eat, part II

Here's the next tier of my favorite, or main, staple foods (I have a lot). At first, I thought to lay out all my foods into concentric circles. The inner circle would display the foods I eat most, while each successive circle would contain foods I eat, but not as much as my inner circle foods. In reality, what I eat depends on the seasons, availability, what my body needs, where I am living, and my resources.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Happy Independence Day, India

In honor of India's Independence Day, August 15th, I am posting an interesting article on Swaraj, the Hindi concept of self-rule, and the Prime Minister's address.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Reading fun

Well, I found two books at the Main Library that I have been wanting to read: Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer, translated by Richard Graves, and Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa. I'm already 90 pages into Seven Years in Tibet, finding it very exciting with much more detail than is portrayed in the movie (though I like the movie version very much).

Another thing I'm enjoying about Seven Years in Tibet is the physical book itself. It's a 1953 first edition copy, hard-bound and printed on thick, soft, ivory colored paper that is so nice to hold. There are black and white photographs and maps to consult as Herr Harrer journeys through Tibet.

The second book, Beyond the Sky and the Earth, is written by a Canadian woman who went to Bhutan (!) in 1988 to teach English (about the time I was returning from my 3-year adventure teaching English/living in Japan). I might give a report after I read it. For now, Herr Harrer's tale awaits.

Tashi Delek!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Enso 今日の心

"Calligraphy is a picture of the mind."
~Chinese saying

"Enso is the circle of infinity, symbol of simplicity with profundity, emptiness with fullness, the visible and invisible. It sometimes forms a moon, sometimes a rice cake.
Usually the circle is begun near the bottom of the left-hand side and the ink is thickest there. Although the shape is the simplest imaginable, each circle is different. Some are almost perfectly round and others are quite lopsided. The shading of the ink also greatly influences the effect of the character. In your practice it is good to write one enso each session."
~John Stevens, Sacred Calligraphy of the East, p. 190.

Here are some of my fude 筆 (brushes):

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The foods I eat

This is a drawing of my main "staple" foods.

I like to draw things from daily life. I got to thinking about the foods I eat because of two headlines I saw last week, one about the Atkins diet company bankruptcy and the other about the serious food shortage in Nigeria. Many people in the US pay money to lose weight while millions of people in Africa are starving to death. It doesn't make sense. We have access to so much food variety in North America while millions of people in poorer countries are starving. Millions of Nigerian mothers would be happy to have enough of just one type of food (i.e., millet or casava) to feed their malnourished children. I appreciate that many of the Asian food items I enjoy come to me from across the ocean, via ship, train, and truck. And, I wish there was something tangible I could do to help feed people who are starving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Peace Message from Nagasaki's Mayor Itoh

Today the bells of Nagasaki echo in the sky, marking 60 years since the atomic bombing. At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, a single atomic bomb was dropped from an American warplane, exploding in this same sky above us, instantly destroying the city of Nagasaki. Some 74,000 people were killed, and another 75,000 wounded. Some of the victims never knew what happened. Others pleaded for water as death overtook them.

Children, so burned and blackened that they could not even cry out, lay with their eyes closed. Those people who narrowly survived were afflicted with deep physical and mental wounds that could never be healed. They continue to suffer from the after-effects of the bomb, living in fear of death.

To the leaders of the nuclear weapons states: Nuclear weapons must never be used for any reason whatsoever. This we know from painful experience. For sixty years we have repeated our plea, “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!”

International society has also been exerting effort for the prohibition of nuclear weapons tests and the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. In 2000, the nuclear weapons states themselves promised an “unequivocal undertaking” for the “elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”

Nevertheless, at the end of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held at United Nations headquarters in May of this year, no progress was achieved. The nuclear weapons states, and the United States of America in particular, have ignored their international commitments, and have made no change in their unyielding stance on nuclear deterrence. We strongly resent the trampling of the hopes of the world’s people.

To the citizens of the United States of America: We understand your anger and anxiety over the memories of the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Yet, is your security actually enhanced by your government’s policies of maintaining 10,000 nuclear weapons, of carrying out repeated sub-critical nuclear tests, and of pursuing the development of new “mini” nuclear weapons? We are confident that the vast majority of you desire in your hearts the elimination of nuclear arms. May you join hands with the people of the world who share that same desire, and work together for a peaceful planet free from nuclear weapons.

To the government of Japan: Our nation deeply regrets the last war, and our government has supposedly resolved not to engage in actions that might lead to the tragedy of war again. The peaceful ideals of our constitution must be upheld, and the threefold non-nuclear principle of neither possessing, manufacturing, nor allowing nuclear arms within our borders must be enacted into law without delay. The efforts of concerned countries for nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula, combined with the concomitant results of the threefold non-nuclear principle, will pave the way for a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone. We urge you to adopt a stance that does not rely upon the “nuclear umbrella,” and to take a leading role in nuclear abolition.

We would also point out that the atomic bomb survivors have become quite elderly. We further call upon the Japanese government to provide greater assistance to those who continue to suffer from the mental anguish caused by the bombing, and to extend sufficient aid to survivors who now reside overseas.

Here in Nagasaki, many young people are learning about the atomic bombing and about peace, and are engaged in activities that they themselves have originated. To our young people: Remember always the miserable deaths of the atomic bomb victims. We ask each of you to earnestly study history and to consider the importance of peace and the sanctity of life. The citizens of Nagasaki stand behind your efforts. May you join hands with the world’s citizens and NGOs, that the bells of peace will ring loud and clear in the sky over Nagasaki.

Today, as we mark 60 years since the atomic bombing, we pray for the repose of the souls of those who died, even as we declare our commitment, together with Hiroshima, never to abandon our efforts for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of lasting world peace.

August 9, 2005
Iccho Itoh, Mayor of Nagasaki

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peace Declaration from the Mayor of Hiroshima

 This August 6, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, is a moment of shared lamentation in which more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims and those who remain behind transcend the boundary between life and death to remember that day. It is also a time of inheritance, of awakening, and of commitment, in which we inherit the commitment of the hibakusha to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, awaken to our individual responsibilities, and recommit ourselves to take action. This new commitment, building on the desires of all war victims and the millions around the world who are sharing this moment, is creating a harmony that is enveloping our planet.
 The keynote of this harmony is the hibakusha warning, "No one else should ever suffer as we did," along with the cornerstone of all religions and bodies of law, "Thou shalt not kill." Our sacred obligation to future generations is to establish this axiom, especially its corollary, "Thou shalt not kill children," as the highest priority for the human race across all nations and religions. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion issued nine years ago was a vital step toward fulfilling this obligation, and the Japanese Constitution, which embodies this axiom forever as the sovereign will of a nation, should be a guiding light for the world in the 21st century.
 Unfortunately, the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty this past May left no doubt that the U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and a few other nations wishing to become nuclear-weapon states are ignoring the majority voices of the people and governments of the world, thereby jeopardizing human survival.
 Based on the dogma "Might is right," these countries have formed  their own "nuclear club," the admission requirement being possession  of nuclear weapons. Through the media, they have long repeated the incantation,  "Nuclear weapons protect you." With no means of rebuttal, many  people worldwide have succumbed to the feeling that "There is nothing  we can do." Within the United Nations, nuclear club members use their  veto power to override the global majority and pursue their selfish objectives.
 To break out of this situation, Mayors for Peace, with more than 1,080  member cities, is currently holding its sixth General Conference in Hiroshima,  where we are revising the Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons launched  two years ago. The primary objective is to produce an action plan that  will further expand the circle of cooperation formed by the U.S. Conference  of Mayors, the European Parliament, International Physicians for the Prevention  of Nuclear War and other international NGOs, organizations and individuals  worldwide, and will encourage all world citizens to awaken to their own responsibilities with a sense of urgency, "as if the entire world  rests on their shoulders alone," and work with new commitment to abolish  nuclear weapons.
 To these ends and to ensure that the will of the majority is reflected at the UN, we propose that the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which will meet in October, establish a special committee to deliberate and plan for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Such a committee is needed because the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the NPT Review Conference in New York have failed due to a "consensus rule" that gives a veto to every country.
 We expect that the General Assembly will then act on the recommendations  from this special committee, adopting by the year 2010 specific steps leading  toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020.
 Meanwhile, we hereby declare the 369 days from today until August 9, 2006,  a "Year of Inheritance, Awakening and Commitment." During this  Year, the Mayors for Peace, working with nations, NGOs and the vast majority  of the world's people, will launch a great diversity of campaigns for nuclear  weapons abolition in numerous cities throughout the world.
 We expect the Japanese government to respect the voice of the world's cities and work energetically in the First Committee and the General Assembly to ensure that the abolition of nuclear weapons is achieved by the will of the majority. Furthermore, we request that the Japanese government provide the warm, humanitarian support appropriate to the needs of all the aging hibakusha, including those living abroad and those exposed in areas affected by the black rain.
 On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombing, we seek to comfort  the souls of all its victims by declaring that we humbly reaffirm our responsibility  never to "repeat the evil."
 "Please rest peacefully; for we will not repeat the evil."
 August 6, 2005
Tadatoshi Akiba
 The City of Hiroshima

Friday, August 05, 2005

Remembering Hiroshima: August 6th, 1945

Sixty years ago, at 8:15 in the morning on August 6th, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped a nuclear bomb called "Little Boy" over the center of Hiroshima. An estimated 80,000 Japanese women, men, and children died instantly. Another 60,000 died due to radiation poisoning by the end of 1945. Many thousands more people have died since then from radiation-related causes. When the bomb hit, ordinary people were going about their lives, drinking tea, walking to school, reading the morning paper, taking a street car to work.

The A-bomb was a small beginning. Currently, many of us believe there is little threat of nuclear war so we do not actively oppose nuclear devices. We hear reports that 'developing' countries are building up nuclear weapons, while ignoring the fact that we have steadily increased our nuclear weapons stockpile. One of our modern nuclear missiles is many hundreds of times more powerful than "Little Boy". I heard Dr. Helen Caldicott speak on nuclear arms and disarmament at MIIS last year. The quantity of nuclear warheads in existence and the gruesome details of death by radiation she gave were frightening. We have to disarm.

Sometimes when I walk out to my car, I think what it would be like to be an Iraqi, Palestinian, or Israeli going into my car, or just walking by someone else's parked car, and getting blasted to death. Or, just enjoying some tea and getting vaporized instantly by heat that sucks your skin off and melts you--it could happen. Unless we disarm. We have to talk about it, become informed, educate others, and continue working towards total disarmament.

For more information, click on Dr. Helen Caldicott and interview and
nuclear policy

How do we disarm? His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that peace begins in the individual:

Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way. ... Peace must first be developed within an individual. And I believe that love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace. Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony that can be expanded and extended from the individual to his family, his community, and eventually to the whole world.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


This is a charcoal drawing I made of Yuki.

A couple of days ago, a friend from Pacific Grove composed this haiku for Yuki:

Yuki dreams of snow
Ahhhhhhhhhhh so cool and refreshing
Snow dreams of Yuki

Right now, in the dark, coolness of a cloudy night (76ºF), Yuki and I will go out for a walk. He doesn't know it yet--it's a surprise.

*FYI: Yuki means 'snow' in Japanese. It can be written in hiragana [ ゆき ], katakana [ ユキ ], or kanji [ 雪 ]. Yuki-chan prefers the hiragana.

Who draws

I thought I'd liven up the page a little with this smiling photo of me from 1994.
I was 33. Now I'm 44.
I'll have to dig out a photo of me when I was 22 and 11, since this blog is my shrine to me and I like those kind of numbers.
My hair has gotten longer--then shorter--and my glasses have gotten smaller, but otherwise, I look pretty much the same.
A friend took this photo of me at the 20th (?) anniversary street celebration of Antigone Books in Tucson, Arizona, on 4th Av. Barbara Kingsolver and Leslie Marmon Silko were among the special guest speaker/readers that night.

Yet the question remains: Who is doing the drawing?
Raise your hand if you know the answer.