Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happiness for Life?

What I wrote Tuesday:

I was looking forward to my two days off SO much, but the weird thing about days off is sometimes they are not any better than days at work. I can sleep late, so that's great. But is it really so much fun to make phone calls, and drive down to the courthouse and spend over $400 in a day, and not have anyone to talk to, and think about things too much?

I grudgingly admit that work is necessary. Often it is fulfilling. Sometimes it is fun.

It's a fallacy to think if I had enough money not to work for the rest of my life, then I'd be happy. It's easy to think that when I'm at work, tired at my desk from too many early mornings.

I wonder what the answer is to stress and anxiety. Those two monsters will never go away. But how can you manage them? But what can you do so life isn't just a reaction to one stress after another?


I wrote that and literally started to write, "Why am I unhappy?" and started thinking about the reasons.

Then the door bell rang. A man who looked about 19 or 20 was at the door. He wore a jacket, he was overweight and he had a friendly smile. He said he was a Christian student and was selling several books to make money for school.

The first was a cookbook full of healthy recipes. I looked at it to be polite but said I wasn't interested. So he showed me another book, a book of Christian inspirational stories with a poem on the back. I said I couldn't buy it because I've already spent too much money this month. (So true.)

Then he brought out a small book titled Happiness for Life. It had a hummingbird sucking nectar out of a flower on the cover. He said there was no charge for this one.

The title was so blaringly obvious I almost had to laugh. And yet I took the book the way a hungry fish takes the bait at the end of a fishing line. I gave him $2 out of my wallet for it (even though it was supposedly free), thanked him and sent him on his way with a bottle of water.

Is there really such a thing as happiness for life? Was this person God's messenger, sent with what I needed to hear? Or just a student selling books to make cash and selling people on a concept they want to believe exists?

To the author's credit the book is actually much less simplistic than I expected given the title. The chapters are about repentance, commitment, obedience and prayer. Nothing about how God wants you to have a million dollars or if you pray you will get whatever you want. The book is 61 pages (not two or five, like most religious tracts are), and thankfully doesn't include diagrams.

The final chapter is titled "Happiness for Life."

Was Jesus happy? Says the book, "It is often said that Jesus wept, but that He was never known to smile. Our Savior was indeed a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief, for He opened His heart to all the woes of men."

As for happiness, "The life of those who imitate Him will be full of earnest purpose; they will have a deep sense of personal responsibility. Levity will be repressed; there will be no boisterous merriment, no rude jesting; but the religion of Jesus gives peace like a river."

Ack, personal responsibility.

"Happiness that is sought from selfish motives, outside of the path of duty, is ill-balanced, fitful, and transitory; it passes away, and the soul is filled with loneliness and sorrow; but there is joy and satisfaction in the service of God; the Christian is not left to walk in uncertain paths; he is not left to vain regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the pleasures of this life we may still be joyful in looking to the life beyond."

I believe it but Happiness for Life is a seriously deceptive title.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Green chile chicken

I made this recipe for dinner. Easy and quite tasty, though I wish the green chiles I had were hotter.

The White Album

I listened to The Beatles' White Album for the first time yesterday. It blew me away! If you've ever listened to it you know what I mean. Here's what I wrote about it on my other blog:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interesting post on Undefined Value on iPhone vs. Android phones: "My biggest beef with Android is that the whole thing just feels like a second-rate knockoff of the iPhone and iPad, and I've never liked using second-rate products."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So I'm in the middle of what has turned out to be a busy week. I need some down time. I seriously need some sleep. I could have fallen asleep at my desk at about 2 p.m. today. A four-day weekend is coming up, which I am thankful for.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix apology

I got a version of this e-mail early this morning from Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. It begins, "I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation." He continues, "Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly. When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong."

Um, yeah. Why didn't I get the e-mail about the price hike? And now I have to be subscribed to two services? I went into my Netflix account and changed my settings. Downgraded from three DVDs at a time to two. *grumbles* But what else am I going to do on a Saturday night?

This is reminding me of Facebook in an unpleasant way. But Mr. Hastings gets points because I know Mark Zuckerberg would never write a letter like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On my other blog: Rereading Walden, No. 11 on my list.

New phone

So I finally did something I probably should have done years ago: I got a new phone and joined a monthly plan. The phone is hardly an iPhone but it is loads more advanced than my old one. I love the wide display with its beach wallpaper, the keypad is easy to use, and the applications are conveniently placed on the home screen. The phone is a step up from the cheapest possible Nokia, but I thought it was worth it both for the (hopefully) better quality and because it avoids the look of cheapness.

I'm also excited about saving money under the new plan. Unlimited minutes and texting for a good price, much better than my old "pay as you go" plan.

My old phone was, well, let's just say it was old in 2005 when I got it. It's the kind of phone that got laughed at frequently. But I will always defend that old phone because it rarely let me down, which is why I held on to it for six years.

I will miss that phone for sentimental reasons, but it was definitely time for something new. I feel like I've moved forward in time 12 years.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The right words

My blog friend Stu has the right words for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Friday, September 09, 2011

- I've been contemplating buying a new car and selling mine, but the whole process just makes me happy to have my somewhat clunky, dependable old car, in the stylish light blue color.

- Two new fish have been added to the tank: a big black one and a small silver one, to replace two fish that passed on recently.

- Went to Chico's Tacos tonight. What stood out to me on this visit was the unpretentiousness of Chico's -- decent food at a cheap price, a clean (enough) and comfortable setting, a little music from the jukebox. No mystery to the menus, no waitstaff you need to tip, no dessert trays, no fancy flavored tea. I like Chico's.

- From one week to the next, it is undeniably fall. I thought I would never see the end to triple-digit temperatures.

- Seems I have been craving simplicity lately.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Here it is

Check out my new blog.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Random notes

- OK, so my texting addiction is dying down. I think I literally received three text messages last week. Now I feel like a pathetic loser but on the upside at least I'm not addicted.

- I'm looking at cars to buy. Latest was a Sonata with a V6 engine. I've never driven a V6. It's amazing how fast it goes from 0 to 60. I didn't buy it, due to the low miles per gallon. But it was fun to drive, plus it had a sun roof. I kinda wish I was into that sort of thing.

- Yesterday my contact lens tore while I was wearing it and I didn't have my glasses so I just had to wear it like that the whole day. Gosh, that is really irritating. By the end of the day I was ready to claw that thing out of my eye. Now I remember why I don't wear contacts all the time.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lauren Bush marrying Ralph Lauren's the math...Lauren Lauren? LOL.

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone

Some perspective from Alanis Morissette, as heard yesterday on my car radio:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Feeling especially mean today after a week full of cynicism. Seemed like all my bad habits came home to roost this week. Do not want to relive this week.