We, Yevgeny Zamyatiev

I’ve been reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatiev, an acknowledged inspiration to George Orwell’s 1984.

It explores a dystopian society through the eyes of D330. Written in the 1920’s, classified as science fiction by the publishers.

The resemblance between society now & what he observed nearly a century ago is uncanny.

Read the book, if you haven’t yet.

& then read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

& then, George Orwell’s 1984.



Much as I would like to write every day, the busy -ness of life seems to take what little energy I feel left in my body by the time I reach home.

The trains were delayed this morning, by all of .. hold your breath… FOUR minutes! Now, if it was an ambulance or a doctor, it could have been a life & death situation. For the commuters who, I don’t understand why, want to get to work at the precise moment every day, those four minutes must have seemed like an eternity.

A few reactions I overheard – well, actually, I heard, because those voices were as big & loud as their owners.

“Why the f*** can’t the service EVER be on time?”

“These govt. pr***s have no f***ing sense of time”

…you get the idea..

This, at 645 am on a beautiful spring day here on the Coast.

Whatever happened to enjoying the few minutes you get to yourself?

Whatever happened to being grateful to be alive & be able to hop on to a train that gets you to work safely, every day?

Whatever happened to.. whatever…

Boys & their toys

Public transport is a great way to get from place to place.

Helps that it is cheaper than driving. And safer. I’m less likely to be involved in a train crash than a motorway incident. Statistically speaking, of course.

An added benefit for me is that I get to see people, places & things en route, some of who, unsuspectingly help  me get from place to place, in my head.

I try to appear disciplined enough to take the same train every day to work.  Most days, I am successful. Sometimes, I appear dishevelled. But I digress.

School holidays are in progress. A break from tedium for the kids. And their teachers.

And a lesson in parenthood for the busy parents.

And a lesson in patience for fellow travellers.

A young Asian father, & his two young sons got on the train today. About 6, & 8, I’d say. The boys were very quiet. Yet, they made their presence known to everyone who was already on the carriage. Oh yeah, they had things in their little hands that had their full attention. The things you play games on, those things. Apparently, these had stuck volume controls. Stuck at maximum. The boys were quiet, their toys were not.

Drew my attention from my book to the little drama unfolding.

The father cajoling the boys to try to reduce the sound accompanying their “games”. Politely pointing out that people were being disturbed. Sure, the boys understood. Of course, their toys couldn’t.

Quite a sight, two little boys, poised over the  identical, little sized gadgets in their little hands, their fingers busy flitting on the screens & buttons. Mindful of nothing else but their reality of games.

Then, from the same seat, came the unmistakable sound of Windows 7 booting up. The father had his tiny netbook on his lap, his fingers busy flitting on the keyboard, providing the lead on the sounds coming from that one row of seats.



When money is lost, nothing is lost!

When health is lost, something is lost!

When character is lost, everything’s lost!

-unknown, oft repeated by my mother for the first 17 years of my life!

This news article today caught my attention today – of an 82 year old Indian yogi, who’s been living without water or food for the last 70 years!

As far back as I can remember, as a 14 year old I had a v

The daffodil principle..


The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead “I will come next Tuesday”, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

“Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.” “Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

“But first we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”

“Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.” “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, “Daffodil Garden.” We got out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn. “Just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”, was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at time–and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world …

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said.

She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use today?”

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting…..

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk

Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die…

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don’t need money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt, and, Dance like no one’s watching.

If you want to brighten someone’s day, pass this on to someone special.

I just did!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.


I re-read my writing, including this blog over the last few days.

Depending on my emotion while I was writing it (or the few hours leading to it), I find it stacatto-like, short sentences, much like machine gun fire.  Ideas flow out in short bursts.

Impulses, as Benjamin Zander calls it in his energetic, inspiring talk at TED.com (Watch the video here). Like a 7-year old, learning to play some notes on a piano. It takes years of practice, & some inspiration, to go from playing notes from a sheet to one fluent motion of making music. Likewise with writing, I presume.

The things I think about are so clear, so vivid, so a lot of things. Until, of course, I try to put them on paper. Or on a screen. They are now so much harder to express. Like now 🙂

Will be back to this soon.

Early birds..


Crisp morning air.

A choir of nature’s various voices celebrating the arrival of a new day.

Early birds.

The ones that catch the worms.

Food. From one perspective.

A sign of disease & decay. From another.

A few folks up & about. On their morning walk.

A few dogs walking their owners.

I have been reading Emerson’s Essay on Compensation. “An inevitable duality exists in nature.” Makes a lot more sense to me now than it did 5 years ago.