Blowing In On The Wind
Let’s see. Where was I? Oh, yes. It was about the shock of Petal Plumblossom blowing in my window with the wind . A quick recap, if you missed Part 1. I was intent on exercising my whimsy muscle which had been inert for too long. You know what they say. If you don’t use it, you lose it . At the same time, I was keeping an eye out for any muses who might deign to pay me a visit. I opened the window to get some fresh air, when the wind blew in with the fancy girl fairy, Petal Plumblossom. That’s where the story left off.
Let me tell you she was as surprised (understatement) as I. We just looked aghast at each other for a moment. Then, I introduced myself and explained that the other neighborhood fairies occasionally come here for tea and petit fours. From their chatter, I assumed that she was who she is. She confirmed my assumption. Seriously, it was obvious going by her haute couture and haughty airs.
I invited her to stay and have tea with me. Since I was not expecting guests, I did not have petit fours to accompany our tea. I was able to offer homemade cookies which delighted her. Apparently, homemade cookies were a delicacy in her world.
To make a long story short, preferable to making a short story long, I will leave out all the juicy stuff for now. I will say we had a very lovely and enlightening conversation. Things and beings are not always what they appear to be on the outside. P.P. (Petal Plumblossom) gave me permission to tell her story whenever I was so inclined .
I must confess I had made assumptions about P.P. from listening to the gossip of the other fairies. When we assume, it makes…well, you know what it makes of us. There are times when it takes common sense and humility to defer to those with more knowledge about a situation or person. There are other times when we ought to pay attention to our Spidey Sense and recognize there is another side to the story. That was the case with P.P. There was definitely another side to her story beyond fancy clothes and fancy airs. When she saw that I was genuinely interested and trusted I would not judge her, P.P. shared her story.
Although she gave me permission to tell you her story, I’m thinking that her story is not the story. The story may be more in the lessons learned and things to remember about what is really important.
Eeyore, who was a downer donkey most of the time, had his moments of insight . One of these insights is worth the mention here. “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
Comments are welcomed.
Whimsy? Muses? Either One Will Do
A couple of weeks ago I gave myself permission to cancel this blog. Seems that having released the pressure of a self-imposed weekly commitment has created space for me to continue a little longer. I am currently on the lookout for whimsy and muses. Either one would provide the impetus to keep going. For a little while, anyway.
Let’s go for whimsy. Even though it has been elusive for some time, whimsy is a part of my nature. Besides, the muses are unreliable and unpredictable. They come. They go. They have their own agenda and time lines. If by some stroke of good fortune the muses detour from their flight plans and land in your home, you might get a big burst of creativity. However, we have no influence over how long they stay. Personally, I have found nothing that might entice them to stay a goodly while. Believe me, I have tried all manner of bribery – special baked goods, the finest coffees, teas, wines, full control of the TV remote and all my devices, etc. Nada! If it is their fancy to stick around and help you, well, that’s great. Otherwise, you just have to be happy with what you do get.
Now, back to whimsy. The cool part about whimsy is that it is always nearby. We just need to be open and notice. For example, if you are very still, you might hear the appliances chatting amongst themselves. You might hear elves tap dancing on the roof. You might discover a wizard residing in one of your closets. The possibilities are endless.
I just opened the window. The wind blew in with Petal Plumblossom riding on it. I’ve had visits from the neighborhood fairies before. Never Petal Plumblossom. She is the fancy-girl fairy who is often the subject of fairy gossip. She wears fancy clothes, fancy shoes, fancy hats and flounces around with her fancy airs. The other fairies find her rather irksome. I was quite shocked by her arrival. I thought it must be a mistake. Perhaps the wind took a wrong turn. To be continued…
Comments are welomed.
Appliances…How Do I Love Thee?
We can be grateful for so many things in so many ways. We each feel it, express it in our own particular ways. Whatever way it works for us is all good. This morning when I was doing laundry, I suddenly felt grateful for my washer and dryer. That one thought, one feeling led me down an interesting, fun path of appreciation. I decided that today would be Appliance Appreciation Day in my household.
I actually went around to every appliance – washer, dryer, computer, AC, radio, phones, stove, refrigerator, TV – and gave a thank you to each one. I also included hot and cold running water. Sound a little goofy? Maybe. However, it made me take a global look to be aware that so many around the world are not as blessed.
Whatever fills our hearts with gratitude is a good thing. I also found that old Irving Berlin song to be true – “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep. You’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” It works.
Comments are welcomed.
Surprisingly, especially to me, I’m back. At least on a week to week basis. Self permission does wonders. Happy May Day.
May Day is celebrated on the first of May around the world. While it is a Northern Hemisphere spring holiday, it also coincides with International Workers’ Day. Whether the beauty of spring season in May or the importance of labor, May Day is a fine time for celebration and good thoughts. Following is a little ditty which has that feeling of stepping full on into Spring.
The First of May
by Annette Wynne
If I could stay up late no doubt
I'd catch the buds just bursting out;
And up from every hidden root
Would jump a tiny slender shoot;
I wonder how seeds learn the way,
They always know the very day--
The pretty, happy first of May;
If I could stay up then, no doubt
I'd catch the buds just bursting out.
To Be Continued?
After 5 years and 9 months of never missing one single Monday, I have to admit that the well is running dry. Most recently I have taken a few thinking breaks, pauses or whatever you want to call them, for 2 reasons. The first is feeling like I have little of consequence to say. Secondly, I felt if I took a real break, I might never start up again.
The second reason gives me the greatest consternation. Diving into blogging offered the opportunity to exercise my creativity. Since I lost my sight, other options that I might have enjoyed were no longer a consideration. So blogging became the thing.
My first thoughts were would I be able to follow through on a regular basis and if I got started and wanted to take a break, would I just let it go altogether? I decided to go for it and jumped into the deep end. After 5 years and 9 months, here I am.
The most important thing was actually giving myself permission to take a break. Just. How long of a break is unknown. maybe a week? A couple of weeks? A month? Maybe no break at all. The freedom I feel from giving myself that permission could be all I really needed. We’ll see.
(A clearer picture of this situation is in the previous posts Getting Started and A Rag Bag Of Hobbies.)
Sometimes everything gets out of sync. That’s me this week. Nothing particularly bad occurred. It’s just one of those things. Maybe something astrological is going on. Maybe I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk. Maybe I wore the wrong colored blouse on Tuesday. Maybe a whole lot of things. I suppose, when you come down to it, none of those things matter. The point is that I am a little discombobulated. Consequently, I am taking a pass this week. I’ll say no more because as Dr. Seuss puts it:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Hope you all have a great week.
How Do We Want To Show Up?
We forget sometimes, maybe often, how deeply our thoughts, words, and actions impact the people around us. We can take conscious responsibility for how powerfully our choices impact those around us. We get to choose how we want to show up when we walk into the coffee shop, take our seat on public transit, or call customer service. We have the option to recognize and revere our shared humanity, and be present to one another. Here is a little poem that embodies this point.
Small Kindnesses By Danusha Laméris
“I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
Comments are welcomed.
April On My Mind
The calendar has flipped once again. Some days it feels like the months are zooming by. April has been one of my favorites. That is due in part to my daughter, granddaughter and some very dear friends being born in April. What else about April? The truth is that my creative juice compartment seems to be temporarily empty. Thus, I’ve decided to simply share William Wordsworth’s poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud as it focuses on one of April’s delights.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Comments are welcomed.
What Is Your Special Story?
When you read this, it will have been one week since it was written. It is more appropriate to last Monday, but I wasn’t inspired until after I received my Random Acts of Kindness newsletter. What was March 20 all about? Not only was it the first day of Spring and the International Day of Happiness, but also International Story Day. It was the first time I learned about Story Day.
Everyone has their own unique story. Perhaps, each of us could recall a time when we were the recipient of an act of kindness that impacted our lives. I began looking backwards to see if there was one act that stood out. I must say, that I feel so grateful to have received many acts of kindness throughout the years. Each one of them truly touched my heart. One fairly recent one popped into my mind that I will share.
I had been downtown and got a cab for my trip back home. Normally, the distance I was travelling would have run up the fare to at least $25 not including a tip. The cabbie and I had a really nice conversation about happiness, having a good attitude towards life and the inherent goodness of people. I don’t recall how that conversation was initiated, but it doesn’t really matter. When we finally arrived at my building and I asked what I owed him. He refused to take any money. I was seriously surprised and tried to protest. He would not take the money. It was one of those micro moments of positive connection, mutual good will and kindness.
That moment in time was a reminder that underneath the layers and facades we have accumulated around us, there is a core of goodness, compassion and kindness. Anyone or anything that can restore us to that core, even for a moment, is a blessing.
Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.
~19th century rhyme
Comments are welcomed.
I came across a blog by Trudy Boyle That I felt worth sharing. It is a good reminder that there are things in our lives where we can exercise control or at least influence what will make stressful situations better. Here is an excerpt from her post.
“When it’s raining and you have an umbrella, use it. This advice from Psychiatrist, Dr. Shoma Morita, means that when you find yourself in difficult circumstances and there is the possibility of taking any action to relieve or influence those circumstances, then do so. We may need to usher in a change of plans, however inconvenient. It may be seeking an opinion or turning over every stone to look for a solution. There are so many situations and choices that can arise in daily living and most come with options for intervention. We need to seek those options out.
This maxim is practical for all manner of difficulties, big and small that you may encounter.
"Be an active agent in your own life. Find out things that you can do. The bottom line is to take some action rather than endure unpleasant circumstances, or unnecessary suffering that can be changed, or alleviated in some way.
At times when much of our life can seem out of our control, it is even more vital to take charge of the things – even small things that we can do something about. Never underestimate the impact on our well-being that small steps can make.”
Comments are welcome.
The Alphabet And Me
Part of my early morning routine includes doing the New York Times Spelling Bee. I am also a Wordle fanatic which I play after dinner as my dessert. After many months, I noticed something rather peculiar about myself. I have become a fan of some letters and an anti-fan of others. As I realized this, I had to ask who in their right mind has a bias, positive or negative, towards innocent, inanimate graphemes? Obviously, me. Since I’ve gone this far, I will share my biases with you.
The Spelling Bee is based on a set of 7 letters, one is designated to be used in every word. They let you know how many words can be formed and how many pangrams there are. The one letter that is never allowed is “S” for obvious reasons. Personally, I think S should be allowed if not used as a plural.
What’s happened doing the Spelling Bee is that I’ve come to cringe when one or more of J, K, V, X, Z appear in the daily 7. I hope they would not take their cringe worthiness personally, but how could they not? Fortunately, my bias towards these little symbols does not extend out into the wide world of languages. There are, after all, very fine words that are formed with these consonants. As for vowels, A is my favorite. I am reasonably neutral towards the rest.
Moving on to Wordle, Vowels are the object of my persnicketiness. In fact, I’ve lost my affection for E. I find E sorely lacking in personality. I don’t know what happened to E, but it is without joie de vivre. A, I, O, U are not exactly rock stars either. Yet, when A and I, A and O, a and O and U pair up, they emit a wee shimmy. When E pairs with one of the other vowels, it is still meh.
This vowel fussiness influences my first and second word selections. I must say that despite these biases, I’ve rarely bombed out. In fact, pardon my brag, I’ve gotten Wordle in 2 guesses 30 times and counting. Even got Wordle on the first guess once. Of course, we all know that was a 100% fluke. Still fun.
The Little Things
Since my loss of sight some years ago, there has been a loss of independence. One makes adjustments. Since the pandemic, there has been a further loss of independence. Full disclosure, there are times I bemoan the things I cannot do on my own anymore. One of the things I am grateful for is taking walks around the block independently. A little thing along my walk has added extra pleasure to the outing. It almost sounds silly, but I am stoked to be able to locate the recycle can on the street.
Recent snow storms have limited the distance I can walk. One morning when I went out to see how far it was safe to walk, I had a perspective shift. Instead of grumbling about snow and ice obstacles, I had a moment of great gratitude. I could still negotiate the stairs to my 3rd floor walk up. I could increase the number of times walking back and forth to where the icy part begins. Best of all I could still locate the recycle can.
Last night we were hit again with an absolute monster snow storm. It was one of those rare times when it was accompanied by thunder and lightning. Wild stuff. I figured I would just hunker down indoors for the day. . However, this morning I felt the urge to put on my big boots, go down stairs and check it all out. I assumed I would stay put in front of my building, breathe some fresh air and return to my apartment. Nope! When I stepped out in front of my building, the street was clear. I carefully began to walk along the route I normally take. Lo and behold, the street was all clear up to the place I have been walking lately.
Then came the big test. I carefully walked to where the recycle can was. Even with snow piled up against it, I could still reach the openings .
That bit of independence was still available to me. I was so grateful and happy, I smiled the entire time I did my laps. This was a reminder to savor the joys of the little things in our lives. When we look back, we may realize they were the big things.
Comments are welcomed.
Moving Into March
A conversation does not go by without some mention of the weather. I cannot believe I am actually going to talk about the weather in this blog. In fact with all my complaints this winter, I have some gratitude for the weather. Am I nuts? Perhaps, but hear me out. Just as winter was coming on the scene, I thought I might get a little P.T.S.D.ish consideration after last January’s record breaking massive snowfall. It was dreadful for some time after the hit. I staved off a freak-out telling myself, that we survived that and the likelihood of a repeat was minimal. Also, there was nothing in the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicting otherwise.
Winter arrived rather unceremoniously. Then January rolled in as the sun rolled out for most of the month. While there were so many gray, gloomy days, there was inconsequential snowfall and a short-lived polar vortex episode. Now, here we are about to mosey into March. You remember March – Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Daylight Savings Time (please do away with time changes), Pi Day, the Ides of March, March Break, March Madness, but best of all March 20: the first day of Spring. Also, March 20 is the United Nations International Day of Happiness.
The point for me is that due to minimal snow and ice on the streets, minimal bitter cold, the usual worst months of winter have skated (no pun intended) by. Despite so few sunny days, I am very grateful for being able to wear street shoes most of these past several weeks with little worry for icy patches. Of course, as I say these things, Winter is not going quietly into that good night. It is making a ginormous ruckus as the month draws to a close, dragging that lion along with it. Nonetheless, it will still become March the day after tomorrow. And that means Hope and maybe more sunny days.
Comments are welcomed.
Small steps can lead to lasting changes. A small step may not get us very far. Generally we judge value of a step on distance. Our tendency is to take large leaps to quickly get from here to there and ‘there’ may be nowhere in sight.
Newton’s first Law of Motion, commonly referred to as the Law of Inertia. It is stated as: an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. Once there is motion there is momentum. This is why small steps can be so valuable. They offer momentum at a very low cost. It takes very little effort to create momentum - One dish washed, one push up, one item on the to do list done.
Have we gone very far? No, But, now there is momentum. We are in motion. That momentum and motion are likely to keep us on the path.
Random Acts Of Kindness Day
Here is a summary of the History of Random Acts of Kindness Day - February 17.
“ The Random Acts of Kindness movement started more than 40 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1982 Berkeley writer and activist Anne Herbert published the first known account of “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Acts of Senseless Beauty” in a CoEvolution Quarterly. After her article appeared, the kindness movement began to spread in surrounding communities.
Fast forward to 1991 when a local woman noticed the phrase scrawled across a warehouse wall in her neighborhood. She shared the phrase with her husband, a then 7th grade teacher, who decided to share it with his students. One of the kids happened to be the daughter of a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, who then wrote about Anne Herbert and the phrase. The article was picked up nationally by Reader’s Digest and later reprinted by the editors of Conari Press, a small press in Berkeley, California.
Inspired by the phrase and the people involved in the movement, the editors at Conari Press published a book highlighting stories of kindness. The book, aptly titled Random Acts of Kindness, was published in February 1993 and was immediately embraced by hundreds of thousands who helped continue the movement. Readers of the book and admirers of the phrase began creating local “Random Acts of Kindness Days” in mid 1993 (30 years ago!).
In February of 1995, the first national Random Acts of Kindness Day took place with participants coast to coast. As a gift to many grassroots organizations, Conari Press funded and facilitated the kickoff year.
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) was created in 1995 in the Bay Area to facilitate future celebrations, always taking place in February during Valentine’s Day week. RAK was purchased soon after by a private foundation and moved to Denver, Colorado where it is located today.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a small nonprofit that invests resources into making kindness the norm. We are rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness.
The Random Acts of Kindness foundation has celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Day and Week every year since 1995 with various initiatives/campaigns, always in an effort to remind the world that a simple act of kindness is sometimes all it takes to change a person’s day, week, possibly their life.”