trust love

Journal abandoned

Just in case you're looking for me...

I abandoned this journal a while ago. I haven't had a non-spam comment in over a year, and most of my friends are over on Facebook. Keeping up with friends is, after all, why I started my LJ.

I'll be keeping it around because I like being found by old friends. So if you come across this, feel free to message me here, find me on Facebook, or look me up on twitter. I'm shodoshan anywhere a username is used, and I do want to hear from you. :>

And for the quick primer on what's going on with me: I'm engaged to a wonderful man whose name is also Chris, I'm living in California, I'm working for a great company called, and my daughter Kayla is doing great in high school. I'm a redhead now. I'm still writing. I'm now also making costumes. I'm not doing any side web design work. And I still love all of you.

Best wishes, and see you on other sites!


Caring at Caring

When I came to work here, I knew I'd have challenges and growth opportunities, that I'd do design work and that what I was making would help people. But there was something significant I never predicted.

I didn't realize my heartstrings would be tugged quite so often.

We're about to release (tonight) a product that will help people who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's. I've learned a lot about the disease in the process of designing this interface - and for the first time I have had to take into account the fact that my designs will evoke strong emotions in people. I mean, design often elicits delight, frustration, or in extremely bad (not mine) cases, cursing. :> But I've never had one of my designs bring someone to tears before. Until I worked at Caring.

We're doing usability testing on the alzheimer's product right now. I spent the entire day today doing nothing but talking to people who are caring for husbands and wives and mothers and fathers with Alzheimer's. It's both heartwarming and heartwrenching to hear their stories, to hear the emotion in their voices as they describe what they're going through, what they worry about, and what they hope for. These are such different people, each approaching the challenges of life in their own unique way.

Alzheimer's is a horrible, horrible disease. Like ALS, it's hopeless, degenerative. Unlike ALS, it wreaks emotional havoc on the people who surround the afflicted person. And there are few things that make you love humanity more than hearing the woman who has been caring for her husband (of 56 years) with alzheimer's for eight years say "I'm happy to do anything you need as long as it'll help other people."

I'm so proud to be part of this effort, and I'm so proud to be human. We've got bad apples, but we also have so many beautiful, shining souls out there.
trust love

Crossposted from Facebook: Justice, fairness, vengeance, closure - and suffering

I've been thinking about this for quite some time now, but it's kind of front of mind as I watch someone thrashing around for vengeance - and prolonging their own pain in the process.

In the real world, in real life, there is no such thing as fair.

I say this, and I am an optimist. So listen to me.

I know people who think that it's important for the other person after a fight to say things like "I'm sorry. I did X wrong and I will do Y to fix it."
I also know people who think that after a bad breakup, the other half of the relationship should be contrite and apologetic. That they'll get closure if they get to tell the other person all the things they did that hurt.
I also know people who think that if they give a little, their partner needs to give the same amount, in the same way.

The television, movies, and literature have programmed us to believe that there's a magical speech that will win someone over to your point of view, and if you deliver it with enough heart and persuasiveness, they'll suddenly fall into your arms or acknowledge your rightness, or you'll feel validated and all the pain will stop.
It has also taught us that if we get vengeance on the person who hurt us, we'll feel better afterward.

The truth of the matter is, there is only one way to get over your pain. Accept that it's there, let it go, let go of the things that caused it, and MOVE ON.

There is no fair. There is no justice. Vengeance doesn't help. And closure comes only from within you - not from anything someone else can do or say.
Clinging to any other belief will only cause you more and more suffering, which will build on itself and hurt your future interactions with humans.

In a relationship, you'll give in some ways, and your partner will give in others. Probably, those ways will always balance out. Are you always going to do exactly 50% of everything, each? Is it ever going to average out to 50% of everything, each? Hell no. But probably, for everything it's difficult for you to give your partner, they are giving you something equally difficult from their perspective. You each weigh and value every action, word, thought and deed differently. The odds are very good, unless you're with the antichrist, that the two of you are giving equally - it is YOUR job to recognize that.

After a relationship, it is not your ex's responsibility to apologize to you. The relationship is over. Your social contract is ended. You may have a new contract of friendship, and the two of you need to work out the terms of that agreement separately. But you cannot expect that your ex is going to magically recognize their mistakes and say all the soothing things you want to hear.
Sure, it's fine to want it. But you can't EXPECT it.
And honestly, even if they did say those things, it probably wouldn't make you feel better. I've personally had situations where I said all the things the person wanted to hear, but my tone of voice or body posture or hair color or the phase of the moon were not just exactly right. Every time I adjusted one, there was a new one. It wasn't because I wasn't doing it right - it's because there is no closure or healing that can come from someone else.

Moving on and letting go are easier said than done. I recognize this. But it starts with one step - wallow in the pain for a little while. Like a day or two. Focus on it, dwell in it, roll around in it. Be so intimate with your pain that you get sick of it and bored of being sad.
Then, you've got the first step. A genuine, motivated desire to be away from that painful state. From there, the steps differ for everyone. I like to distract myself, creating things. Other people might need to talk about it. Some people need to cleanse themselves of every reminder of the thing they're trying to let go of.
The process doesn't matter. What matters is that you are consciously, every second, aware of the things you're thinking and feeling - and working to let go of the anger, pain, fear or whatever else it is that's causing your suffering.

The only way you can ever truly be happy is to approach every day as if it were a new beginning, every person as if they were perfect, and every challenge as if it were easily beat.
Church of Usability

Greeting Cards is now live!

After slaving and sweating and losing sleep and nearly chewing our fingernails off, the greeting cards project has gone live!

Now, you can create custom greeting cards the same way you customize your stationery. Choose a design and add your photos and text. Play with fonts and colors till you're happy. On the back of every card is a personal seal that says it's one of a kind, made by you! You can customize that too. :D

Cards can be delivered to your recipient directly, or sent back to you so you can sign them. You can have then sent right away, or schedule them up to a year in advance. Talk about no-brainer!

I can speak personally for the quality of the cards - the paper is premium cardstock, the printing is exceptional and we custom-designed the envelopes, which are very classy.

Best of all is the price. In the store, a nice designer card can cost you $5 or more. Our cards are $1.99. And they're made by you, for the person getting them.

I'm really proud of this product. It makes me feel fantastic to know that I was involved, and I'm really excited for the (top secret) improvements and enhancements I know are coming. Please feel free to check it out, and let me know what you think!

Three Years

When my daddy died, I inherited his laptop. I stubbornly cling to it, almost exactly as it was when he was alive. As if it were on loan.
He had some pictures rotating as his desktop wallpaper. They're not particularly good pictures, of a particularly interesting subject - but they were how my daddy saw the world. He loved them enough to keep them cycling through. And so I keep them.
One of them is a photograph of a trail head sign. My dad did stuff like that. You see the map, and info about the area. And then you see the real beauty of the picture - subtle, ghostly, a reflection of my papasan taking that picture. There, ethereal, precious. A moment of his living caught.
I love that picture most of all.

Today is three years. I did things he would have loved, and carried him with me, like the reflection. There, if you look just right.
I miss him so much.

Robert Binnom Taylor
9 Feb 1946 - 10 Apr 2007


A buddhist's guide to happiness, through the krys-filter

Someone posted a very cynical "buddhist's guide to happiness", with a challenge for apologists to step up and explain it away. I feel like the people commenting on his entry did a good job of clarifying his misunderstanding of the philosophy, but it got me thinking.

What is the buddhist guide to happiness, when you take all the niceties and aphorisms and cerebralness out of it, and make it practical?

So here it is, as I see it. Like all things in buddhism, it's merely my interpretation and your mileage may differ. Et Cetera.
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This is not a comprehensive list of the ingredients of happiness, for sure. But it covers the basics from how I apply buddhist philosophy to my life. What can you add to this list?

Happy birthday, daddy

Three years ago, a bunch of our friends came over to our house and shared a toast to you. You spent the rest of the evening alone, reflecting.
You knew it would be your last birthday. You never told me what you really wished for that day, although I would have made it happen in a heartbeat. You were stoic and brave until the end.

You were the strongest man I have ever met, and every man for the rest of my life will be judged by your high standard.

I love you, daddy, and I miss you. Happy birthday.
monorail cat

Movie Review: Avatar

I will put anything spoilery behind a cut so I don't ruin it for those of you who haven't seen it yet.

I have a lot of derisive things to say about Avatar. That said, it was probably the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. I hate 3D, but this is the first movie where the 3D was not gimmicky, AND enhanced the viewing experience. If all 3D movies were like this, I'd like them.
I will own this movie, and I would go see it again in the theater. It was worth every penny of the $13.00 I paid for the ticket, despite the formulaic plot, archetypal characters and cheese.
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*snicker* Unobtainium. *snicker*


I have finished making Kayla a cheerleader costume for Halloween.
I have learned a few things in the process.

  1. Patterns are not written in english. There should be two versions of every pattern; one for people who know what the heck they're doing, and one for me.
  2. The sewing store near my house is remarkably well stocked.
  3. The people who work at the sewing store either have very poor social skills or are ridiculously rude and elitist. Yes, I have a Brother. And yes, I need the $30 part because the $99 version of that part costs more than my machine did.
  4. I solemnly promise to buy a better sewing machine, really I do.
  5. Walking feet are very hard to get ahold of.
  6. If you do get ahold of a walking foot, you will probably need a longer screw to hold your needle in.
  7. If you can't get a longer screw, you should NOT take a sander to the part of the walking foot that goes around the needle screw to make it narrower. While this does technically work, and you'll briefly feel proud of yourself for having machined your own part, the plastic that you sanded away was important for structural stability and the walking foot will not work.
  8. I am really, REALLY bad at making waistbands. I hope one of you awesometastic sewing gurus will show me how to do this someday.
  9. Kayla is adorable in a cheerleader outfit.
  10. Having two sewing machines is VERY useful.
  11. I need to take a sewing class. I have a lot to learn about fixing the little problems that come up when you're sewing.

In other news, Jo and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary this weekend. The actual anniversary is Weds.
Love love!

Morning funny

emailsfromcrazypeople cracked me up today. Sharing:

You should know that before I throw in the trash your stupid “alumnus” magazine, some of us have good education and recognize evil when we see it. Where is the report questioning the awarding of degrees in Sociology, Women’s Studies, and the like? Where is the article questioning the renaming of the Business Administration school to something from outer space like management? There isn’t such a thing as “management”, it’s just a title awarded to employees instead of giving them a pay raise. Come on Uof__, get with reality. Jeepers. You’re looking like a bunch of fools.

Look, its time to realize that woman aren’t people. They just repeat yesterday all over again each day. If you listen to their conversations, you will note the absence of verbs. They can’t do life. They can’t do Earth. You shouldn’t have all your staff positions occupied by non-humans. It shows in your Alumnus magazine. Fake nonsense is not a good idea.

Class of ‘65

"women aren't people" *wipes tear off her face* I'm so glad he told us! *falls back over laughing*