Friday, July 31, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Time with Nature

Into the Woods

(Into the Woods)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Did you take a break as promised?
JOE: I did. I took a walk down a country road and communed with nature's beauty on the best day I have seen all summer.
CALLIOPE: Good timing.
JOE: I can't agree more.
CALLIOPE: What did you discover?
JOE: Birds, cornflowers, Queen Anne's lace, fields, woods and wild black raspberries.
CALLIOPE: Did you take along your camera?
JOE: Not this time. I had to choose between just being with nature or capturing it. I chose the former.
CALLIOPE: Not a bad choice. What did the experience do for you?
JOE: Helped gain me some perspective on life. It's the journey which matters, not the goal.
CALLIOPE: Others might disagree.
JOE: Let them. We all have to choose our own paths and make of them what we will. I'm happy with the choices I have made.
CALLIOPE: Glad to hear it.
JOE: Thanks. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Mid Summer

Swimming Racehorses

(Swimming Racehorses)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I feel rested, relaxed and energetic.
CALLIOPE: How nice.
JOE: I think so.
CALLIOPE: What do you plan to do with the state in which you find yourself?
JOE: Good question. I can always count on you for a little prod.
JOE: I was thinking earlier this morning about how technology has drained all my energy lately.
CALLIOPE: What do you plan to do about it?
JOE: Patience! Patience! I'm getting to that.
CALLIOPE: Not very quickly.
JOE: That's just the point. There's no rush.
CALLIOPE: Proceed.
JOE: My plan is to take some time in the second half of summer (such as it is) to recharge my creative batteries.
CALLIOPE: Now we're getting somewhere. How?
JOE: My art supplies are getting dusty. I plan to get them out and get to work painting and drawing. I also plan to delve into reading to start my creative juices flowing again. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- A Moment of Peace

Vandas in Barbados

(Vandas in Barbados)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Feeling at peace.
CALLIOPE: More so than usual?
JOE: Yes. I have accomplished all the immediate goals I set for myself and now am taking a deep breath before starting on the next one.
CALLIOPE: What goals did you accomplish?
JOE: Both of my websites have been revised and posted, our Conversations with Calliope ebook is ready for proofreading and my column on Inspiration and Institution is on its way to my public.
CALLIOPE: You've been busy.
JOE: I have. Several projects were near completion but still unfinished. Suddenly all of them came together in the past few days.
CALLIOPE: It must be a good feeling.
JOE: Yes. One of accomplishment and satisfaction.
CALLIOPE: What's next on the horizon?
JOE: I think I'll get back to work on Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: I haven't heard you talk about your novel lately.
JOE: It's been fermenting. I think it's time to open the cask and see whether it is aged enough to proceed. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Inspiration and Institution

Rusty Hull

(Rusty hull)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What' on your mind today?
JOE: I was just thinking about my newspaper column for this Saturday.
CALLIOPE: What do you plan to write about?
JOE: Inspiration and Institution.
CALLIOPE: Sounds intriguing. Tell me more.
JOE: Discovering Spiritus Christi Church brought to mind all the movements started by idealists.
JOE: Most of them end up ossified into stodgy institutions including religions, political movements and even whole civilizations.
JOE: I was wondering if it is possible for a movement to stay fresh without becoming institutionalized.
CALLIOPE: Have you reached a conclusion on the matter?
JOE: No. It remains a question, perhaps one of life's mysteries for me.
CALLIOPE: So what can you do?
JOE: Enjoy the freshness while I can and contribute what I can to its viability. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- A New Spiritual Home



JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Have you finally returned to your regular schedule?
JOE: We'll see. The answer is yes for the moment.
CALLIOPE: Did your weekend adventures provide all you expected?
JOE: They did. A couple from Spiritus Christi invited my brother and me for dinner Saturday.
CALLIOPE: How did that go?
JOE: Quite well. We learned more about the history of the community which has been in existence for about ten years now and is going strong.
CALLIOPE: Any revelations?
JOE: I was concerned that they might have some confining dogmas which might give me second thoughts. I thought I might want to just stay with the experience and not try to make too much sense of it.
JOE: Discussing it did not provide any such difficulties. It is a community which offers support for acting in a Christian way without the onerous burdens I formerly carried as a Roman Catholic and which eventually drove me from their fold.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: My brother and I and our girlfriends attended the Spiritus Christi service Sunday morning and felt totally immersed in their fellowship and community.
CALLIOPE: It sounds like you have found a new spiritual home.
JOE: I think so. We are trying to let it develop naturally without forcing anything. Talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Back to Writing

Western New York Sunrise

(Western New York Sunrise)

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. Did you just get up?
JOE: Don't be cute. I was up at 6:30 and planned to make a few minor corrections to my websites before contacting you.
CALLIOPE: So what happened?
JOE: I screwed up more than I fixed and it took a while to get back to where I was.
CALLIOPE: Is everything okay now?
JOE: As far as I can tell. Take a look at my websites at www.commonsense and and let me know what you think.
CALLIOPE: I'll do that. Maybe some of our readers will too.
JOE: I'd welcome that.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I have some more to do with my websites but I am weary of the process now.
CALLIOPE: Do you have some other pursuits in mind.
JOE: Yes. I will take some time to work on my writing. I plan to ready for publication our book based on this blog.
CALLIOPE: I can't wait to see it.
JOE: Neither can I. Talk with you on Monday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Doubt

Nina Sails

(Nina Sails)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Tired but energized.
JOE: Last night after golfing with my brothers and nephew, and dinner also including my sister-in-law we watched the movie Doubt which one of my brothers had not seen.
CALLIOPE: How did you choose that movie?
JOE: Those of us who had seen it had various opinions about whether the main character, a priest, had molested a boy.
CALLIOPE: What caused the various opinions?
JOE: It was staged with clues suggesting possible guilt. One opined that he was guilty as sin, another held that he was not guilty and still another thought there were indications but not proof of guilt.
CALLIOPE: What do you draw from the experience?
JOE: A well crafted movie or novel for that matter can elicit various reactions and conclusions.
CALLIOPE: Why does that fascinate you?
JOE: Art can be a way of bringing us together to compare our views and begin to understand each other.
CALLIOPE: I agree.
JOE: I'm glad you do. That's what I want to do with my writing.
CALLIOPE: A good aim.
JOE: I'm glad we are together on this. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Conversations with Calliope-My Brother's Visit

Amish Buggy

(Amish Buggy)
JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Excited.
CALLIOPE: On what account?
JOE: My brother from Honolulu is in town for a few days.
CALLIOPE: When did you see him last?
JOE: Last fall.
CALLIOPE: What plans do you have?
JOE: We had planned golf with another of my brothers this morning but the weather does not seem very cooperative.
CALLIOPE: So what else do you have planned?
JOE: He has become interested in Spiritus Christi Church which I recently started attending. We will visit some of its people to discuss their views.
CALLIOPE: Do you expect them to differ much from what you believe?
JOE: I'm not one much for dogma. I believe in God and try to act as a Christian but don't like to haggle about specific beliefs.
CALLIOPE: I'll be interested to see how it goes.
JOE: I'll let you know. We don't meet until Saturday. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Addicted to Technology

Ready to Relax

(Ready to Relax)

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. I wondered what became of you.
JOE: I have been wondering the same thing.
CALLIOPE: Have you come up with any answers?
JOE: I believe so. Mastering website technology at least to the point of getting satisfactory sites has taken me over to the point where it feels like an addiction.
JOE: I have reached the point where there is not much room left in my awareness for anything else.
CALLIOPE: What about your writing. I am barely keeping up with my journal and our conversations.
JOE: As you can, see it took me until now to get around to you.
CALLIOPE I do feel a tad slighted.
JOE: I was afraid of that. However I think the end is near or at least a plateau where I can stop to consider some other pursuits.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad to hear that.
JOE: I did manage to post my latest revisions to my Sliding Otter Website yesterday and am happy with it for the time being.
CALLIOPE: Then what's keeping you tethered?
JOE: Now I am hard at work on my Commonsense Wisdom site which is coming along nicely. I hope to be done with it in the next few days. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Success at Last

Shoes at a Street Fair
(Shoes at a Street Fair)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's this about success?
JOE: I am finally mastering Dreamweaver and getting it to do what I want with my web pages.
CALLIOPE: How did that come about?
JOE: I realized I was getting nowhere with trial and error or at least not where I wanted to be.
CALLIOPE: So what led you out of the labyrinth?
JOE: Going back to basics.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: Yesterday I took my son for his second cataract surgery. I had some time to use productively while he was in the hospital and wandered over to the library.
CALLIOPE: And what did you discover?
JOE: Among other things, Elizabeth Castro's book HTML, XHTML &CSS.
CALLIOPE: How helpful was it?
JOE: Extremely. I'm finally beginning to make sense of this whole process. I finally developed a template I liked and am revising my websites yet again.
CALLIOPE: Good luck.
JOE: I think I'm on the right track. Talk with you tomorrow

Monday, July 20, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Plenty of People

Fire Pit(Fire Pit)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I guess you had a busy weekend.
JOE: You said it. Wall to wall people since Thursday.
CALLIOPE: That must have been quite a change from your regular routine.
JOE: No question. I have accustomed myself to quiet days with my computer. When I did have the chance to get at it, my energy flagged and I had little to say.
CALLIOPE: What did you like best?
JOE: I enjoyed meeting all of Carol's high school friends. Perhaps best was meeting one husband whose early life paralleled mine in terms of education and wrestling with the uncertainties of the draft in the late 1960's.
CALLIOPE: A kindred spirit.
JOE: Yes. He even had the same college major I did and knew some of my professors.
CALLIOPE: Any grist for the writing mill?
JOE: I am sure there will be but I need to digest the whole experience and find ways to store it in my mind other than as a whirlwind.
CALLIOPE: Is that how your mind works?
JOE: I guess I haven't thought about it much but I suppose it is. After reflecting on the weekend I will end up with some reflections and insights about my own life.
CALLIOPE: That's good.
JOE: I think so. It helps me keep some perspective. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Simple Things

(Oatka Creek Falls)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you yesterday.
JOE: Sorry. I had to go out of town to do a police candidate evaluation and one thing led to another.
CALLIOPE: What about later?
JOE: I had planned to write then but the weather was perfect and we decided to attend a free Chubby Checker concert.
CALLIOPE: How was it?
JOE: All we expected. The high point for me was seeing Carol dancing in the aisles, caught up in the moment.
CALLIOPE: As I recall you had a column in the works.
JOE: Correct. I didn't get to that either yesterday. However I woke up at 2:00 AM this morning and wrote it.
CALLIOPE: Did your thoughts come together at that hour.
JOE: Maybe that's why I woke up. The words flowed easily and I had it ready for Carol to proofread this morning.
CALLIOPE: What's up for today?
JOE: I hope to work a little on my website, but mostly I will by busy preparing for company arriving tonight for the weekend Oatka Festival.
CALLIOPE: You certainly are becoming the social butterfly.
JOE: I can't deny it. I am looking forward to it after all the work alone on the computer lately. We have guests staying in the computer room so I don't know how much I will be able to contact you over the next couple days. I'll do my best.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Peak Experiences

In the Rockies(In the Rockies)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Good. I had a friend review my new websites and I am busy following his suggestions for improvements.
CALLIOPE: Don't you have a column in the works?
JOE: I do.
CALLIOPE: So how's it coming?
JOE: You caught me at an interesting time. I have a theme in mind but haven't fully developed a plan for the piece.
CALLIOPE: Well, tell me about the theme then.
JOE: Okay. I plan to write about peak experiences.
CALLIOPE: Which are?
JOE: The psychologist Abraham Maslow saw them as being transported to a different level where you may lose track of time and place and leave behind fear, anxiety, doubt and inhibitions.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting.
JOE: That's the point.
CALLIOPE: What's your focus for the column?
JOE: It's still in process but I think it will be on how we tend to seek such moments while passing by the everyday pleasures which are much easier to find. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- What Words are For

Footsteps in the Sand

(Footsteps in the Sand)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Refreshed from a wonderful weekend but still perplexed.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about the weekend first.
JOE: Carol and I dined with friends, walked to the Farmer's Market, swam in our friends pool and best of all returned to Spiritus Christi for an emotional reunion with fellow travelers on life's path.
CALLIOPE: Sounds great. Why are you perplexed?
JOE: Last night Carol told someone of our joyous spiritual experience. The response was to try to pin down her beliefs and see whether we fit into the other person's neat box of religious beliefs.
JOE: No. In our search for a context for our spiritual journey, some people seem to insist that we see things from their point of view and tell us what we can or should do rather than accepting our choice to follow our own path of discovery of our relationship with God.
CALLIOPE: How do you feel about that?
JOE: You sound like a counselor. We don't like to be put into someone else's box no matter how much they say their words are motivated by concern for our souls.
CALLIOPE: Understandable. What do you plan to do about it?
JOE: Probably be a little more careful about who we choose to share our enthusiasm for our journey with.
CALLIOPE: Perhaps a wise course.
JOE: Agreed. Talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Saturday Musings

Storm Clouds

(Storm Clouds)

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. A lazy day today?
JOE: Not exactly. I knew the rain was coming so we went for a walk to the Leroy Farmers' Market while we could.
CALLIOPE: Find anything good?
JOE: Some fresh veggies to munch on while we wait for ours to ripen.
CALLIOPE: What's going on in web development world?
JOE: I feel like a Ping Pong ball sometimes.
JOE: I was just getting ready to choose Joomla as my preferred way to develop a website when I discovered that it does not yet have the capability of uploading content.
CALLIOPE: What good is it then?
JOE: Web development practice I guess.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: There might be a way I can develop my site on a server connected to the internet. The jury's still out on that.
CALLIOPE: Where does that leave you?
JOE: I think it's time for a professional consultation to see what my options are and how best to proceed. In the mean time I think I will relax for a while this afternoon. Talk with you on Monday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Reasons to Write

Siege Tunnel- Grbraltar

(View from the Siege Tunnel- Gibraltar)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Still savoring our visit to last night's Taste of Stafford and the music of John Sieger and his band.
CALLIOPE: What made them special?
JOE: If you closed your eyes, you would swear you were listening to Louis Armstrong, voice and trumpet.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like fun. You seem intrigued by music lately.
JOE: I can't deny it. But I did wake up this morning wondering how my musical musings applied to writing.
CALLIOPE: What did you discover?
JOE: Everything I said about music applies to writing too.
CALLIOPE: Why do you think authors write?
JOE: First to make sense of their own world. At least that is my primary motivation.
CALLIOPE: What else?
JOE; If I think I'm on to something, I like to share it with others for their consideration to see if it makes sense to them and helps them clarify their life path.
CALLIOPE: Noble aspirations. What else?
JOE: To explore life's possibilities- how it could be under different circumstances whether better or worse.
CALLIOPE: Very interesting. Let's talk about this some more.
JOE: Sounds good to me. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Angels and Demons

Barbary Apes
(Barbary Apes)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I thought about what you said yesterday about Michael Jackson. Have you had any further insights?
JOE: Indeed. I woke up very early today pondering the relationship between creativity and madness.
CALLIOPE: What do you think was the relationship with Michael between his art and mood?
JOE: I don't know. I haven't seen any speculation about this and am not aware of anything he has written or said about the issue.
CALLIOPE: So that remains a mystery. Do you know anything else about it?
JOE: One artist I knew painted only when he was depressed to express his mood. His color blindness further darkened his art. Another time I met a sculptor who only worked when he was not depressed to avoid contaminating his art with his dark moods. I recall my son struggling with taking his medication and thinking clearly or not taking it and having his hand steady enough to draw.
CALLIOPE: Do you think creativity and what you call madness are interrelated or just exist in parallel dimensions.
JOE: I wish I knew.
CALLIOPE: What's your opinion?
JOE: I think it could be both. Some people seem to write about wrestling with their demons while others wait until the demons recede so they can listen to the angels (or muses)whispering in their ears.
CALLIOPE: Very interesting.
JOE: I agree. I don't think mental and emotional turmoil give one a corner on creativity but they do seem to be paths to it.
CALLIOPE: I think you might be right.
JOE: I don't know if I am but you asked my opinion. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Michael's Music

Path in the Woods

(Path in the Woods)

JOE: Good Morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Where where you yesterday?
JOE: Now, now.
JOE: If you must know, I was involved in corporal works of mercy.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Taking my son to the hospital for cataract surgery.
CALLIOPE: I guess that explains it. Did everything go okay?
JOE: It seemed to. Only time will tell, but the doctor was satisfied with how it went.
CALLIOPE: Good. My regards to your son. Did you get to do anything else yesterday?
JOE: I had planned to work on my writing but got caught up in Michael Jackson's memorial service.
CALLIOPE: I didn't know you were interested in him.
JOE: Frankly I had trouble getting past his weird lifestyle and self mutilation.
CALLIOPE: And did you finally?
JOE: I did and discovered that I like his music once I can put aside my judgment of his way of life. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Weekend in the Woods

Woody on the Allegheny

Woody on the Allegheny

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: A nice change of pace.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: We spent Friday night at a party with Carol's family at their cottage on Canisus Lake with only a slight passing shower.
CALLIOPE: And the rest of the weekend?
JOE: We camped with friends at their campsite along the Allegheny River next to Allegany State Park.
CALLIOPE: Is it Allegheny or Allegany?
JOE: Hard to tell. The best I can discover the park is Allegany and the river Allegheny. But the spellings seem almost interchangeable.
CALLIOPE: Very confusing.
JOE: I puzzled about it too.
CALLIOPE: So how was camping?
JOE: A good chance to get away from my computer and spend time with people.
CALLIOPE: How did that feel?
JOE: A little awkward for me after spending so much time with the computer working on my writing. I will work on more balance. Talk with you tomorrow.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Catching up with Joomla

Independence Day

(Independence Day)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Chipper.
JOE: Accomplishments tend to further brighten my usual cheery mood.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: After much head scratching and experimentation I finally managed to load the web server Xampp on my computer and install a functional copy of Joomla, a free web development program I wish I had know about before I delved into Dreamweaver.
CALLIOPE: How much progress have you made?
JOE: I got everything installed and started working on a tutorial to learn the requisite skills.
CALLIOPE: How's it coming?
JOE: I find it easier to understand than Dreamweaver and am excited about the many possibilities.
CALLIOPE: And if you get stuck.
JOE: I have a website developer (actual person) who has offered to help me get unstuck.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like progress.
JOE: I think so. I will be away tomorrow and will talk with you again on Monday.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Too Much Technology

DeWitt Park

(Dewitt Park)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: There's something about the electricity circulating around here today.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: Yesterday I met with Chris at my local computer center about a few technology questions.
JOE: I prepared myself to pay someone, probably him, to help me with adding a shopping cart, some forms and my blog to my website.
CALLIOPE: How did it turn out?
JOE: Good. After quite a discussion, he thought my emerging competence could handle everything I had in mind.
CALLIOPE: And if you get stuck?
JOE: He will be there to help me out of the muck.
CALLIOPE: So what's the problem?
JOE: I tried sweeping out my computer of some unneeded clutter and ended up erasing an innocent looking file necessary to start my computer. Hence a reload.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a pain.
JOE: You said it. I'm back in business although a few programs don't quite act like I think they should. More work, but I think I'll take a break and go fishing with my grandson today. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- More About Musical Emotions

Shipboard Extravaganza

(Shipboard Extravaganza)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Good, thank you.
CALLIOPE: What are you up to today?
JOE: I just finished my column/newsletter for this Saturday.
CALLIOPE: I'm curious.
JOE: It's about musical emotions which I wrote about last week.
CALLIOPE: You mean how a Michael McDonald concert sent you off the deep end into an eddy of emotion.
JOE: Exactly.
CALLIOPE: Why did you feel a need to revisit this troubling episode?
JOE: Partly to see if I had gotten past it and partly to see what I can learn from it.
CALLIOPE: Did you get past it?
JOE: I did. Nothing awful arose in me while I was composing it.
CALLIOPE: What did you learn.
JOE: To pay attention to my emotions and their message and change what can change about memories of past bad experiences. Talk with you tomorrow.