Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Woodcarving Fun

I haven't made time to write anything lately, so I thought I'd share my most recent attempt at woodcarving...

The following images were taken with my Nikon 5200 and a 40 mm macro lens.

  I carved this figure from common Basswood and finished with oil and wax...

Hope you enjoy the piece.  By the way, the images are pretty degraded here - please let me know if you want to see high resolution images, and I'll get 'em to you.

I've also been busy creating the new Warrior's Dance Dream Series, 5 short video pieces shot in Tucson at the Warrior's Dance school... These will be my first attempt at producing my own video - They will all be shot with my Nikon 5200 DSLR, and I'll be doing the editing with iMovie - not too sophisticated...

The sound is my own voice and my Native American F# flute... Enjoy...

David Lader

Friday, December 6, 2013

Warrior's Dance Dream Series # 1

Greetings...Hope you enjoyed the previous post - I know it was a bit heavy.
I wanted to take a short break from writing and share something else I've been working on out of the Tucson Warrior's Dance School.  I'm producing ten brief video segments of Warrior's Dance entitled the "Dream Series..."  These will all be shot by my students in our studio, and we'll be using a Nikon 5200 DSLR.  I'll be doing the editing and post-production in iMovie.

Here's the first one:

The sound track is my own original music - it's me chanting along with my F# Native American Flute...

Have fun and feel free to send me any feedback or reactions.  I'll be back to writing in a week or two...


David Lader

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FrankLy Speaking

For as long as I can remember, it's been source of comfort for me to make grand decisions regarding the inherent value of others. I have a history of having conveniently appointed myself the official in charge of determining whether or not countless folks should be entitled to share the planet with me. Borrowing an expression from George W., I was the "Decider" in these matters.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Feelings' Locale

"Feelings' Locale" is not a reference to the newest Weight Watcher's strategy - it's merely the title to this post which wonders, sort of, where our feelings are located.

Where do your feelings reside?  In your head?  Perhaps in your gut, your heart, your left kneecap, or under your pillow?  In light of some of the common language we use to describe our emotional experience, some of the above suggestions aren't really so outlandish...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are You Stuck?

I've been grouchy and irritable today because I've taken on too much - I've overfilled my plate...
It's always fun, comforting, and convenient to blame my high level of anxiety on everything on earth outside of myself, though this sort of nonsensical thinking simply makes it easier for me to feel sorry for myself, act like a victim, and justify even more poor decisions, such as filling up my plate even higher...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Resentments and Cheetos

A friend recently told me his wife was behaving like a child.  When I asked him how he felt about the whole thing, he said he wasn't angry with her - just a little resentful.  He seemed to be in a pretty bad way, so I asked him how he was doing in general.  He explained how he'd stayed up too late the night before watching brainless television.  While struggling to stay awake through a very bad hair replacement infomercial at two in the morning, he inhaled a liter of Coke, snarfed down two pints of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, and, for his coup de gr√Ęce, he devoured an entire family-size bag of Cheetos Crunchy XXtra Flamin' Hot Cheese Flavored Snacks.

Neither of us wondered much if his little episode had anything to do with his splitting headache, upset tummy, nasty mood, or the giant bags under his eyes -  it was all too obvious.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Talkin' To Strangers

A total stranger asked me how my day was going.  I was waiting for my double espresso, and I think he'd just finished paying for an iced coffee.  Being a generally social person, I was immediately pleased that someone seemed to have at least a modicum of genuine interest in my welfare.  This initial reaction was then slightly tempered, in the following three or four nanoseconds, by a cautious optimism that overtook me as I began to consider the distinct possibility that this seemingly harmless gentleman was, in fact, some sort of raving lunatic...

...preparing to pounce on the opportunity to get external validation from me, his next hapless victim.  As it turns out, he was either a real gentleman or an outstanding actor.  If forced to bet, I'd guess he wasn't acting, at least for the most part (note: those relationships closest to us present the greatest challenges for personal growth.  Consequently, random social engagements, given their comparatively superficial nature, are generally much easier to negotiate than the relationships we have with a spouse, close sibling, parent, or child).

Friday, September 13, 2013

What Do We Deserve?

People deserve respect!

...or at least a little respect, according to Aretha.

That's a strong and simple statement, and one that wouldn't tend to procure much controversy.  In fact, I suspect most people would "take issue" with anyone that would question the notion.

I've been taught that asking questions that begin with "why" tends to make folks a bit uneasy, and, since a little discomfort seems to be a key ingredient in the learning process, I want to ask "why do people deserve respect?"

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I took a little break from writing this week, though I'm very enthusiastic to get back to pulling topics from my "Blog Folders" which are stuffed with a very large number of various paper scraps with scribbled notes from years of wondering about things...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Knowing Stuff

I'm always enthusiastic when I hear or imagine what seems like a new thought, or an interesting variation on an old thought.  While few, if any, ideas are really "new under the sun," it's a relief that new things seem to enter my awareness every day - otherwise, what a boring life it would be...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Big Family

While intolerance is alive and well throughout our world today, there seem to be remarkable efforts to spread information around the planet in the hope of dismantling the prolific hatred that has been born of our fear and ignorance.  As global economic distress escalates, indirectly threatening the education of our young, and self-righteous fundamentalists, bullies, and extremists waive their flags as prominently as ever, the future of our species hangs in the balance.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Old Friend

I received a phone call this morning from a very old friend (I'll call him Penn), and it's been about 20 years since our last contact.  He had a remarkable interest in the details of my life and my well-being today, and he seemed to care so deeply.  I have such clear memories, from long ago, of Penn's deep appreciation for the value of others, and I felt a lot of love and sadness as I reflected on how relatively unavailable I was to value him during my youth.  Fortunately, my sadness today is distinct from any feelings of shame that I may have, a feeling that is perhaps rather self-absorbed and counter-productive (guilt seems more constructive, as it is focused on how we have harmed others, rather than on how worthless and pathetic we are)...

Friday, August 23, 2013

False Modesty

False modesty is, among other things, pretentious, inauthentic, condescending, and deceptive.  It is also ubiquitous these days...

Note two of my favorite quotable quotes that follow - they both convey the same basic message, though the lovely and brilliant Golda can never be accused of sugar-coating anything.  Marrianne Williamson, whose now-famous words have been often mistaken for those of Nelson Mandela during his 1994 Inaugural Address, is a bit more eloquent and flowery.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Not Fair

My children seem to complain less and less often about how they routinely get the "short end of the stick..."  They are about four and seven years old, respectively, and they already have a certain degree of emotional maturity that most adults in our culture seem to lack.  My wife and I try our best to continually remind them that life is not fair, and it'd be a good idea for them to practice getting used to it.  Consequently, the kids continue to feel pretty angry with the apparently endless injustices they perceive, and, remarkably, the reactions they have to their understandable distress is not so destructive to themselves and others as they used to be.  We try to discourage their dramatic attempts to manipulate people around them to make their world "right" again.  We do this by trying to "normalize" situations that are apparently unfair to them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On Age and Beauty

...You don't look a day older!

Should we take this at face value?  Sometimes "a cigar is just a cigar," so the saying goes, and we simply don't look like we've aged.  Still, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone insincerely complemented another on their semblance of youth.  Our obsession with the extent to which our appearance may or may not convey our number of times around the sun is of particular concern to me...  I am as guilty as the next of having willingly consumed the media's shameless portrayal of idealized and superficial beauty, and it doesn't resemble anyone over 35 years of age...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Abstract Photography

I've been taking photographs of a 1903 home in one of Tucson's historic neighborhoods...Barrio Libre.  I purchased the property with Linoa, my real estate investment company (named after our kids Linnea and Noah, by the way).  These photographs are the beginning of a series I intend to produce...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Powerful Language

It seems as though language may be relatively limited in terms of its ability to help us communicate, as there are so many non-verbal ways to communicate as well.  Still,  the range of effectiveness of our verbal communication efforts seems remarkable.  This range appears to be based on various word choices that we make routinely and unconsciously.  By raising our awareness regarding some of these word choices, perhaps we may have an easier time being authentic and saying exactly what we mean.

Communication 101

Taking others' inventory seems like child's play...Whenever we experience a relationship challenge, the real work begins when we're willing to look at my own part in the breakdown..  It’s a lot easier to accomplish this when we understand and express ourselves very clearly.  


Take what you like and leave the rest…

For all of you hard-working parents out there who love your kids the best way you know how, my intention is to share strength, experience, and hope on the subject of raising our babies.  The following is simply what seems to work best for our family, so please take it all with a grain of salt.  What works for us has so much to do with our time and our place in the world.  We can only do our best with what we have been taught ourselves.  Are there really any experts?  If any of us actually did this perfectly, would we not be robbing our children of great material to cry about in their future therapy sessions?  My wife and I agree that we will be the best parents possible if we only mess up our kids minimally.  All kidding aside, some of the following suggestions are meant as just that – suggestions.  If anyone really knows “The Way”, they would have cornered the market in their infinite wisdom.   So far, no one has done that, and we are simply left with endless controversy.  So, I’ll try my best to not pretend I am any sort of ultimate authority in these matters, I’ll try to maintain my sense of humor, and with any luck, you’ll only mess up your kids minimally too.