musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: October 2018

New Windows, Better Access and a Fresh Outlook

The Home Improvement Series, Part 6 of 10

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The problem: The windows were broken — hard to open; even more difficult to close.

The metaphor: I am hoping for a clearer vision outside of myself and my immediate surroundings. Also, when the windows are clear, when defenses are cautiously lowered, others are allowed to see in.

In the past, I have had difficulty in navigating access to the outside world. The question has always been: What do you share and what do you keep private? Once you give others complete access, it is difficult to pull that access away. You may be seen as insincere. It is best to have clear boundaries from the beginning. But don’t be too difficult to open.

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A Rasta Hanukkah – The Temple Rockers’ Festival of Lights

It seems like an unlikely pairing, yet when you first hear The Temple Rockers’ just-released Hanukkah album, Festival of Lights, you’ll be amazed at how seamlessly (and beautifully) they blend sleek reggae with jubilant, horn-laden traditional Jewish klezmer. The Temple Rockers celebrate Jewish and Rasta traditions, finding common ground for their deeply spiritual and heartwarming music.

The Temple Rockers, based in Ithaca, New York, features members of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, John Brown’s Body and Big Man Sound Machine. Festival of Lights was produced by their bassist David Solid Gould and is the premiere release on his new label, Fresh Roots Records. On the album, the band is joined by legendary Jamaican singers Ansel “Meditations” Cridland, Wayne Jarrett and Linval Thompson. The album features songs commonly heard during Hanukkah. It’s tremendously uplifting and hopeful, at a time when we need it the most.

Discover the perfect soundtrack for the holiday season (and something to lift your spirits, anytime at all). Download the album from the band’s bandcamp. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

web | facebook | instagram | bandcamp | youtube | fresh roots records

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A Small, Rotting, Rickety Old Porch

The Home Improvement Series, Part 5 of 10

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The problem: Sometimes something that’s old and no longer viable must be fully knocked down and cleared out before you can begin anew. In a physical sense, it was an old wooden enclosed front porch—tiny, nearly useless and sinking fast into the ground. The entire thing was pitched at an angle, the roof no longer level. Long ago, carpenter ants had feasted and moved on to more fertile surroundings. It was long past time for me to move on as well.

The metaphor: Like the old porch, I had become rickety in my belief and confidence. I needed to break out of the narrow confines of my self-image and into a more expansive space where I had room to grow.

It’s about expanding one’s boundaries, real or imagined, and setting one’s sights on broader possibilities and a wider horizon. The new porch will be made larger and open to the outdoors. There will be expanded vision, out to the ocean and to the open sky, getting out of my comfort zone and out of a restricted space, into the larger world.

Remade of stronger material, we will be resilient in the face of strong winds, challenges and adversity.

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What’s a Little Asbestos Between Friends?

a.k.a. The Vermiculite Abatement

The Home Improvement Series, Part 4 of 10

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The problem: Nasty vermiculite in the attic, under and around fiberglass batting. Extremely difficult to accurately test, as samples can vary and asbestos fibers settle over time. It was tested by the manufacturer for barium, which indicated that it was indeed theirs, and most probably contained asbestos. The presence of this godawful substance seriously complicates the sale of a home and renders the entire space virtually unusable (unless one wishes to take chances with one’s health). Not to mention the fact that it’s as messy as all get-out, and ends up everywhere if you’re not careful. The presence of vermiculite nullifies eligibility for energy efficiency rebates.

A little history: Vermiculite as an insulation material may have seemed like a good idea at the time (1920s, when the mine began operation, until 1990), but as it happened, like so many things, it was a really bad idea. The infamous Libby, Montana mine, owned by the W.R. Grace Company, became embroiled in controversy in the ’90s, when people in and around the mine began dying of asbestos-related illnesses. It was discovered that the mine was contaminated with asbestos. As part of a court settlement, money was eventually awarded to former miners, Libby residents and homeowners who used their Zonolite product (more than 35 million homes).

The metaphor: For a while now, I have been locked inside a mental prison, not seeing or believing that things in my life can change. Removal of mental toxins like old guilt, fear, uncertainty and lack of confidence is critical to my future well-being. I have been existing within narrow confines, not wanting to take changes, but the time has come to stretch out and explore other areas of experience, so I can reach my full potential.

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New Roof, Higher Aspirations

The Home Improvement Series, Part 3 of 10

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The problem: The roof of my porch had started to leak, and I was fearful that the winter winds would bring further damage.

The metaphor: These past few years, I have been feeling shaky and vulnerable — physically, emotionally and spiritually. This year, I have been fortifying myself for whatever lies ahead, while trying to leave myself open to new ideas and opportunities.

It made sense to construct a protective barrier, like the roof’s new protective barrier against ice and harsh conditions. A ridge vent lets fresh air in, and I try to not close myself off completely from other people and new experiences. After threatening for years to move to the West Coast, I decide to stay on the East Coast for the time being, and focus on bettering my situation and my perception of the situation. Much of everything is perception.

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