Becoming Perceptive · Words

Attention and randomness and resilience

Krista Tippett: Here’s something else you wrote: “The outline of our lives, like the candle’s flame, is continuously coaxed in new directions by a variety of random events that, along with our responses to them, determine our fate.” You say that we are driven to see patterns and create patterns where the patterns aren’t there. But it seems to me that you’re also presenting our responses as mattering. There is randomness, and then you talk about that even though that is true, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized does make a difference. It does shift things.

Leonard Mlodinow: …little things make a big difference. And what they really do is they raise opportunities for you. Or they raise challenges. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you. If you’re awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad. But the important thing is how you reacted to it. (emphasis mine)



“It will flame out, like shining from shook foil”

God’s Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Public Domain. Read on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, July 6, 2019.


My new favorite cuppa joe

I was recently introduced to the most delectable coffee drink right in the comfort of my own home. No fancy stuff just good strong java jazzed with a dollop (amount adjusted to personal preference) of the secret ingredient…sweetened condensed milk! Who knew? As it turns out lots and lots of people knew because various other cultures (e.g. Vietnamese, Spanish, Thai, just to name a few) flavor their brews this distinctive way; because I didn’t know doesn’t mean that no one did. Delicious, creamy, and, yes, richly sweet. It tickles all my tastebuds in a delightful way. If you want a cup of tastiness, give it a try.


Allergic reaction


Poison oak? Poison ivy? Poison sumac? I don’t know what it was but it sure did itch! This is my hand over a period of two weeks. I also had it on my arm and leg but not as intensely. Finally, it’s feeling better.

Here is an update photo after four weeks. It’s almost completely healed. I’m thankful.

Becoming Perceptive · Seeing

Peeper trouble


After suddenly experiencing significant floaters in my left eye June 11, I visited my ophthalmologist. He diagnosed me with posterior vitreous detachment, a fairly common problem among folks of a certain age especially if they are very nearsighted. The vitreous of the eye changes consistency and pulls away from the retina causing the floaters. Usually there is not problem but in the first weeks, there is an increased risk of retinal detachment. So after assuring me that within weeks (to months) the floaters would settle, he suggested that I return in a few weeks to be checked but to let him know if there I saw any bright lights or dark veils. The next week I started having bothersome blurriness in the same eye so I returned for a checkup. It turned out there were a few spots on my retina that were bleeding slightly so my ophthalmologist referred me for an immediate visit to a retina specialist who, after a thorough examination, performed laser surgery to seal those spots and “tack” the retina. I left with very blurry vision and a slight headache (both temporary from the procedure) reassured that my eye was doing well and I could expect full recovery. I have had one follow-up exam which showed no further signs of deterioration and am trying to be patient while hoping that the floaters and blurriness dissipate soon. I was certainly unfamiliar with this problem but have since come to know several others with similar experiences. So thankful for astute and able health care providers.

Finding myself paying attention to my paying attention now. It’s a little weird.