500 Email Messages in 24 hours

If I spend a week off email, how do I handle returning to 500 email messages (and it is fortunate it is summer vacation!)? My goal is to get through most of the email messages in 24-48 hours so more mail does not accumulate and bring my InBox to less than 20 messages.

My email falls into five categories: personal messages, work messages, committee/volunteer-associated messages, news alerts, and mailing lists. I have all my email delivered to Gmail, with some message automatically assigned a label upon arrival (such as mailing lists and work messages). My first step is to quickly scan through the all messages in my InBox for anything that appears urgent. This means looking for personal messages and quickly scanning the first line as it appears in gMail – occasionally opening the message to verify the urgency. If it can be handled in less than a minute or two, I respond immediately otherwise I mark the message to unread and continue to scan. Continue reading “500 Email Messages in 24 hours”

Eat Local One Year

We have exciting opportunity here in Ojai to participate with a group eating locally for one year. Of course, this could happen anywhere but Kristofer and Joanne Young have challenged our community by seeking 100 (or more) volunteers willing to do this together. The group is just getting off the ground and has met once with about 50 interested people – people from Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Saticoy, Ventura, Santa Paula, and Ojai. Though I am not 100% certain this will happen for our family, we are giving it some serious thought. The idea came from Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle where her family documents eating locally for one year. The idea is to eat food within 100 miles of our home for one year.

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Two Words I Didn’t Expect to Hear

Two different colleagues relayed stories where the words wetback and beaner were used recently. I didn’t expect to hear these two words in 2008. Even the folks who demonstrated in Ojai last week did not admit to being racist (though I suspect differently). And despite the fact that we have a black man running for the President of the United States, it is obvious that racism is alive and well in America, and in our neighborhood. Both these words were used inside crowded businesses and the derogatory terms were heard by those it was directed toward. In both cases, the recipients were highly educated and active participants in our society and economy. What is happening here? During the mid-1970’s, when I attended elementary school in Fresno, I did hear these terms. But in Trader Joe’s? Inside a Mexican food restaurant?

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What’s in a name?

Is it possible to bring together all my disparate interests into one place for the edification of friends, family, colleagues, and new friends? I have significant interests in Buddhism, librarianship, social justice, technology, peace and politics in addition to the joys of family life. For the past couple of years I have been blogging for the Ojai Post and also launched a blog for my library at Santa Barbara City College that has allowed me to touch on some of these themes. The time seems ripe to explore further, and so we have this new blog.

What to call a blog with so many different themes? As I rode my motorcycle home from work on Friday evening, my mind spun through many ideas. In 2005, I was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh into the Order of Interbeing and given the name True Recollection of Joy and I wanted to find a way to include this here. The name can provide inspiration, guidance and aspiration for the rest of my life and so it will also function as guide on this blog. As I write posts, whether it is about the latest library trend or about a deep spiritual encounter, I will find a way to make it joyous.

And so, welcome to you my friend, on this new journey of exploration.