2018 In Review

Everything you do, be it great or small, is but one-eighth of the problem, whereas to keep one’s state of mind undisturbed even if thereby one should fail to accomplish the task, is the other seven eighths. 

—St. Abba Dorotheus (sixth century), quoted in E. Kadloubovsky and G. E. H. Palmer, Early Fathers from Philokalia




Facebook depresses me because everyone's life looks better than mine. I don't want to contribute to that problem by presenting a choreographed product here. You don't want to read about my heroic struggle to clear the drain in the dishwasher, but that's the kind of excitement that fills my days. At any hour of any day, you're likely to find all three of us working. That's mostly what we do. It's not a bad life, I have no complaints about it. I only mention this to avoid misleading by omission.

Max took his first training flight in an airplane on his birthday. He liked airplanes from birth. At preschool, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said, "A airplane! Wiff ten engines!"

He studied photography at his high school, and made this ad. I like the composition, but Max only says, "Yeah, I calculated you could land a plane on this street, given the right conditions."

Misa continued to make and sell jewelry, handbags and scarves at her store, LoveMisaStyle

Work continues on my Eternal Picture. Right now I'm working out some problem areas off the main canvas. We'll see how far I get in 2019.

A Buddhist shrine enclosure hangs on the wall in my office. Elaborate rules dictate what to place inside and how this sacred space is cared for. Naturally, I ignore every one of the rules and do what I want with it.

Today I placed photographs of women who taught me important lessons. The photographs were taken over a period of one hundred years. When I stepped back and looked at them, I noticed every head was slightly tilted in the same way, and each girl beamed the same delicate smile. 

Each face connects to the others, to this Earth, to the passing of time, and to me. There it is, the horizontal arc, the wider pattern we swim in. Like the curve of our planet's surface, the arc is always there, but we catch a glimpse only a few times in life. 

Music this year comes from a Canadian singer, Ken Lavigne, who deserves more attention.

SoCal decorations, courtesy of Dr. Seuss


Priya S. said…
John Paul, I always look forward to getting your end-of-year recap, which simultaneously is informative and poignant (and yes, even poignantly funny - e.g. your reference to perfect lives on Facebook). Mick and I wish you, Misa, and Max a wonderful Christmas 2018 and a happy holiday season! Please send an email next time you're in the city for a banco event, it would be great to meet up if schedules permit. Lots of holiday wishes, Priya
Unknown said…
It is always very nice of you to send this email at the end of the year. I like your intelligent comments and for sure the Facebook one is exactly what I feel...That is interesting to know about Max ..'s flight.Wow I didn't have an idea he liked that.
And Misa , is so artistic ,too, Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
I really appreciate to give lessons to Misa. She is very sensitive and a good student. She has the love for music and she is an artist .
I wish a wonderful New Year and a Very Merry Christmas to you, Misa and Max.
Thanks for all your support,
Isabel Catania
Unknown said…
John Paul, It is great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your year end wrap up. I share similar thoughts on facebook and day to day activities. It is not a means to an end, but a wonderful journey in itself. Well said.
Looking forward to next occasion to meet in person.

Happy new year.
Greg said…
Thanks John Paul - I hope you, Misa and the aptly named Max have a great holiday time and 2019!

Jeff Torchon said…
Hope everyone has a happy and prosperous new year John Paul! Always love your year end recap. Love to all and, wow, is Max taller than you now??
Jeff Torchon said…
Also, truly enjoy watching your canvasses evolve. Love your subject matter of course and seeing the colors now connects me ever further to your work.
Unknown said…
Hello John Paul! I loved watching your movie and looking at your pictures! You, Misa, and Max look happy and healthy - and that's what's most important. My immediate and extended family do use Facebook to stay in touch, but we don't subscribe to the glittery Disney version. We all recognize that life is meant to be a bit of a struggle (as that is how we learn), as well as "ordinary" most times. It's those fun moments of joy and achievement, though, that we highlight/share. Anyway, I love that Max is learning to fly - what a sense of accomplishment and I understand the joy and freedom flying brings! As for Misa, I dont know how I never knew that your sweet wife is an artisan with her own shop, but I love the examples of her wares you displayed. And your artistry never ceases to amaze! Thank you for sharing and I do hope your Christmas was merry and bright! Here's wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Unknown said…
This year has brought many adventures for me with falcontry, Druidism, and many great events at the Temple. I have been to many Historical sites so not to have missed them as time and monies many not be there in the future to sustain them. I still go away to my historical table top events in Lancaster and enjoy painting the small soldiers. I have made a good living being a kitchen designer and that has me drawing and working with colour everyday, I use everything I learned in all 3 schools I attended. I have read wells fargo will be going through another round of fines for their practices. Funny they did nothing different than any other financal banks, but seem to be in the news more often. Some one at my Temple is a Buddest and practices the Japanese Tea ceramony which she has preformed for us several times. It was good to here from you.
Kristin said…
I love the musical selection! Thank you and have a happy new year.
Thank you all for the comments. I read them all immediately, but only now have time to acknowledge here.
In answer: Yes, Max is significantly taller than me now.