Good morning!

The Moon, Saturn and a small fleet of lifesaving vehicles greet you this cold, crisp, freezing morn!

Small advert below:

One of our coworkers, Liz Taylor, was featured in the picture of the day for a blood drive at the local offices of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency…


Jan. 25, 2018: Mike Parker (front row), MDA/ICTM and Keith Garrett (back row), MDA/EET, participate in the MDA Wellness blood drive in Huntsville, Alabama. MDA participation included 60 personnel and 50 units of blood donations were collected.

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Confession

Forcing ourselves to say “we,” “us,” and “our” takes practice and a bit of patience.

Even so, we’re here trying to adjust to the habit of seeing the body typing these words as more than one human but rather an amalgamation of conglomerations of perturbations of possible living beings traveling together mainly on one planetary body, itself a mixed bag of rocks, liquids and such.

But we digress.

Instead, we must confess.

Whilst redesigning the backyard meditation/writer’s studio, a play space/work shop, we find ourselves in such a quandary because we can’t decide the final look and function of the base/foundation for the greenhouse.

Making a skirt of pallet wood would create an air gap between the rock ledge and the floor of the greenhouse, a small but steady influence upon the greenhouse ambient temperature within a few inches of the floor. The skirt might keep larger creatures from hiding and living beneath the greenhouse, if we want such.

Making a rock foundation all around the base of the greenhouse would prevent wood-chewing animals from munching their way under the greenhouse, and offer the same passive cooling benefits as the wood skirt.

Leaving the space beneath the greenhouse open to all creatures, regardless of classification due to size or predator/prey status, would be the cheapest solution in the short term.

We like the idea of stacking our own stone foundation, building a set of skills we don’t have.

The next week or so will show what we decided in this matter.

A good cold day to work inside!

Multiple projects, no deadlines…what to do?

When it’s too cold for us to work comfortably outside, we move the last two concrete footers into place and retreat inside to our overcrowded programmer’s workshop to figure out code to mesh into the end product of another project.

We give credit to others for inspiring our future results, including Erin “Robotgrrl” Kennedy (as always)…

and this person’s pallet wood flooring in a backyard cottage:
I used many pallets. (Lost count) I planned each board then used the table saw to square them up as Read Here: https://www.1001pallets.com/2016/01/pallet-floor-cottage-back

https://www.1001pallets.com/2016/01/pallet-floor-cottage-back

Architectural Originality

Using both available material (new, recycled and natural) and inspiration from others’ innovation to assemble a greenhouse kit, we want to add a bit of originality to the repertoire of backyard meditative spaces.

Years ago, we planned a backyard writer’s cottage comprised of four sections tied to four compass points:

  • Castle tower to the north
  • Tin roof shack to the south
  • Adobe pueblo to the west
  • Buddhist temple to the east
  • The center portion was a crossroads, the floor a meditation labyrinth, the walls covered with Irish Celtic symbols, the ceiling a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel

Its shape gave tribute to our subcultural upbringing:

Back then, our construction capabilities were limited if not nonexistent.

We couldn’t find or develop the confidence to build the original design.

We have changed, grown confident, and now build what we want, giving ourselves a limited budget to force ingenuity.

The new design generalizes the meditative qualities of organised religion, removing specific symbology, wrapped up into the prefab greenhouse kit.

As for the rest, you’ll see soon enough!

Ready for the next project!

Looking to add this Circuit Playground Express to either our motorbike, our writer’s studio or both…

The accelerometer will be fun on the motorbike:

We’re already planning to add this EL panel to the motorbike…

Electroluminescent (EL) Panel – 20cm x 15cm Aqua

Meanwhile, we apply water sealant/wood preservative to the pallets and gather more pallets every few days, including three tonight.

This week, we build the foundation!

Under a blue sky

In a world where members of our species rush to release the latest product into the marketplace in hopes of making a change, whether a change to their personal wealth or a change to sub/cultural practices, we sit and watch the trees slowly open new leaves, wonder about the life of a mistletoe bush growing on a tree limb high in the forest canopy, smell the little turf fire burning beside us on this cool Sunday morning.

Insects have hatched and bounce through the air in the backyard again.

Our life partner nurses a head cold brought on by seasonal allergic reactions and watches fictional love stories on the tellie.

We meditate.

What is meditation?

Meditation is getting out of our thoughts, out of our inner world, and existing as simply as possible in this moment, taking the phrase “at one with the universe” into unintentional practice, without agenda or purpose, letting our senses (our interface with external stimuli) exist without cultural interpretation.

Smell a new odour or fragrance whilst sitting and do not guess its source, only notice its effect on our olfactory system.

See everything taking place between us and an object in the distance, including the surface of our eyeballs, the dust floating through the air, the spider webs on the window and the insects flying through sunshine.

And when we let go of the labels, removing our interpretation of rainbow-coloured reflective lines as spider webs, we find ourselves deep in meditative trances.

= = = = =

Yesterday, after we left the house on our solo motorbike journey and stopped at the petrol station a mile from our house, ready for mindless meditation upon riding the road, our life partner called to ask if we’d check to make sure she’d unplugged the curling iron after she’d left the house for an all-day workshop of handmade notecard crafting.  We topped off the petrol tank and rushed home to unplug all devices in our bathroom so we could get back on the road.  Life is full of moments like this, happily giving ourselves over to our social connections and responsibilities that define partnerships.

= = = = =

Despite riding a motorcycle a few times in our lives — a minibike at age 10, our first adult-sized motorbike at age 22, a larger motorbike at age 36, and now an even larger motorbike at age 55 — we have much to learn to increase our confidence whilst riding.

Yesterday, we followed our Google Maps GPS-based directions to lead us to a mountaintop waterfall.  The directions took us on some mountainside road we were most definitely uncomfortable riding on, scaring us in fact.

Mountainside road

Riding on the outside of this road in winter, seeing the sheer dropoff to the right, no guardrail, no cover of tree leaves to hide the view, meeting a motorcar veering out into our lane in the curve ahead…well, let’s say that we burst into a sweat, despite the morning chill, keeping our throttle steady and our eyes focused straight ahead.

At the top of the mountain, we missed the sign for the waterfall and turned down the wrong road, due in large part to our nervousness.  We pulled into a gravel driveway to reverse our direction and, for the first time on this motorbike, because of a momentary lapse of confidence, fell over in the loose gravel.

Slo-mo it was, like in a film, the motorbike and us keeling over as we felt the gravel give way, using our left leg to ease the motorbike down rather than fall over.

Quickly, two motorists stopped to render aid but we waved them off as we used our motorcycle safety course training to shut off the engine and lift the motorbike back into a standing position, straightening out the leftside mirror, brushing the gravel dust off our leg and getting back on the road, our pride a little scratched but none the worse for wear.

We encountered one of the motorists at the waterfall and exchanged knowing nods, no reason to say anything.

Waterfall ride - 3 Mar 2018

= = = = =

Although our lives are brief in relation to the age of this planet, we see the insects outside and know a few of them have only a day or so to spend in their adult stage, seeking reproductive mates before they die, contributing much to the cycle of life of this planet if they can reproduce before being eaten, their sets of states of energy recycled no matter what.

In our morning meditation, casually recalling yesterday’s long motorbike ride from 0830 to 1530, with stops for petrol, sightseeing and hiking, we gladly know that the insects which died as they splatted against our motorbike helmet windscreen contributed to our time on this planet and we thank them for their anonymous contribution.