Cats and Quills?

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While she hasn’t known Quills per se, she certainly has captured many a feather!

Tethered and True

Are you Tethered to old habits or a usual way of doing things?  I would venture to say that most of us have certain routines that we covet, especially on work/school days.  That predictable sense of doing often provides comfort and likely helps us to keep our infamous ‘to-do’ lists in check.  If we go about our business in the same order, we are less likely to forget things, which at middle-age, seems to be more of a problem than in our younger years.  Speaking for myself at present, I know that if my morning work routine gets changed up (i.e. my husband is at home vs. gone to work) it really seems to throw me off of my game because it’s not what I am used to.  I think it would be fair to say that on average the older we get, the more set in our ways we become (partly out of necessity, as I am learning.).  However, it’s important to remember that changing things up every now and again can keep us on our toes and expose us to new, even better ways that we might not have otherwise considered.

The other day, when I was reading a blogpost on a fellow bloggers’ site, he was talking about his retirement years (20+ now) and how he and his wife wake up each day and say, “What can we do that is interesting today?”.   Irwin, my WordPress friend, attributes their willingness to try new things and keep active to their seven plus decades of happiness.  What a great way to start out each day and certainly food for thought if you find yourself stuck in a rut, as he alludes to in his post.

While routines serve their purpose and we tend to rely on them in our daily lives (i.e. taking medication, catching the train, lunchtime, brushing our teeth, etc.), it is also good to keep things fresh and exciting by trying different ideas.  Sometimes, changing the smallest of things can elicit a new-found, unexpected appreciation for a once mundane habit.  For example, taking a different route to/from work might lead you to discover a more scenic landscape or less traffic lights to have to stop at, thereby making the trip faster.

So today/tonight, I would like to challenge myself and others to follow Irwin’s advice, and ask what it is that WE can do to make each day special/unique/different.  Here is how my challenge has gone over the past two days (I got a bit of a headstart):

Day one, yesterday, I bought supplies and tried painting a beach scene.  Now, that is something very new for me, as I have only ever completed one painting as an adult and it was an easy step-by-step one for our bedroom wall.  While the palm tree that I included on my blue-hued canvas is a little Charlie Brown-like, it surely resembles one (perhaps a meager one, but a coconut palm nonetheless).  Personally, I think the tree trunk turned out the best.

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Today, day two, I jogged one minute and walked for three during my morning exercise routine.  While I have taken to jogging before now, I haven’t done so in quite some time.  I must say that it felt good to break free from my boring winter treadmill routine and hit the gravel roads outside at a decent pace!  I automatically felt lighter.  Then again, it could have been the sheer humidity in today’s air that helped melt off an eighth of a pound.

Tomorrow, I am thinking about trying an apple pancake recipe that I’ve wanted to try for a while now, but haven’t had the time to make.  After all, who can go wrong with apples and cinnamon for breakfast, or any given time, for that matter?!

So, what is it that you plan to do to tomorrow to create some added variety in your life?  Or, maybe your daily motto has always been to delve into something different?  Either way, enjoy!  I’ll let you know how the pancakes turn out:-).

All Wired Up

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A bridge to connectivity at its monstrous best

This massive steel structure takes on a life of its own by comparison of the 15-20 foot tall trees which hover slightly above its base.  While not a literal Bridge of sorts, its lattice intricacies remind me of one.  Then again, it also reminds me of an alien-like force to be reckoned with akin to something out of a sci-fi movie.  However, I don’t think good old Will Smith or Tom Cruise would care to blow this one up.  It just might strike back!!!

Unplugged or Conditioned to Pavlov’s Bell?

The term ‘unplugged’ has taken on a whole new meaning in this day and age, but what does it really mean?  Most people, nowadays, interpret it as a ‘proverbial break’ from the wiles of technology that seem to beckon more and more of our time, personal and otherwise.  But, can it really be done?  We all know that we should spend less time ‘plugged in’, especially children, and there is loads of new research reinforcing that notion, citing the not-so-great physical, social and emotional effects.  The question is, can one in the western world really be tuned OUT from their phones, internet, cable, etc.?  And, if so, for how long exactly?  Mere minutes, hours, days?  Or maybe for some, quelling the need to answer Pavlov’s bell (in a matter of speaking) every few seconds might actually be considered triumphant.

I will say that prior to owning my first and only iPhone purchased about five years ago (thanks to my husband who was in disbelief that I knew not one iota about texting), I didn’t have much to do with the internet other than that which was necessary for work, the odd emails sent back and forth, and a bit of surfing deemed necessary to research travel information, etc.  I was quite content with my little world, which included the traditional cordless phone (don’t worry, I wasn’t in the rotary stages still, though those phones did make a come back a short while ago;-) and of course, good old cable TV, even though there wasn’t much worth watching then either, hence the creation of Netflix, Crave TV, and Amazon Prime, I guess.  Anyway, my point is that until I got hooked up with my Phone, I’d say very little of my personal time was taken up by techno gadgets.  It just wasn’t important to me.  I was one of “those” people who saw ‘no use‘ for texting when you could simply pick up the phone and talk, if you needed or wanted something (NB, here I am speaking of ‘for real’ talking–not the pseudo kind.).  Fast forward to today.  The window into my existence is vastly different and I am not sure I feel super good about it, but I will reluctantly admit that it has brought about some interesting prospects in life, such as WordPress and creating my own blog:-).

And so, here I sit during one of my typical blogging sessions with my I-Pad in my lap, a Bluetooth keyboard at my fingertips, my I-Phone beside me on our end table along with our cordless home phone, our Smart TV on (mostly as white noise), and a stand-alone PC just a few steps away in our den with a Wi-fi hub beside it.  Indeed, I have become EXACTLY what I said I would not become and it didn’t take long to get here either.  Eeks!  A few sessions of instantaneous messaging with others, at times even simultaneously, and I was hooked!  Just.  Like.  That.  Not proud to say so, but it is true.  I mean, why make a call when you can send a few measly words in a text, while not even having to be grammatically correct (though, I must say that that is one formality I cannot forsake and I’m still getting used to the apparent ‘trail off’, wherein one just decides to ‘disappear’ from the ‘conversation’.).  Suddenly, with the art of texting mastered, all the fuss that people were talking about made sense to me.  Then there were all of the other conveniences that my Phone provided–Outlook, Safari, Facebook, Apps, an instant camera, Photo albums, You-Tube, Maps, Notes, a Calendar, a Calculator, Skype and, and, and!!!, which is precisely where I am going with this…

The other week, my husband and I tuned into a 60-Minutes episode and one of the clips featured tech insiders, (some present, some former) who admitted that the sole purpose of coders is to keep us as engaged as possible because the more time we spend on our devices, the more money that is made off of our screen time.  Just think of all of the advertisements that we are constantly bombarded with and how convenient it is that our likes/hits/searches provide the big wigs with even more ammunition to program with.  It is/was no surprise to hear what the insiders had to say, and yes, media lends its own slant on things, but I will admit that it was more than disturbing to think of how much we are being manipulated and molded, without even realizing so and/or maybe we do, but we are too far gone?!  I’m inclined to think that it is a little bit of both.  So, where do we go from here?  Where is the fine line between convenience and entertainment vs. addiction and far-reaching complications, most of which are yet to be determined?  I don’t know, but it does provide food for thought.  I surely don’t want to be taken for an experimental dog, whose mere existence relies on pings and dings.  Hmm

Until I figure out just how I am going to respond to this issue, you’ll have to excuse me as I Pluck myself out of my rocker recliner to grab a second charger for my Phone since the I-Pad one is already occupied:-).   Oh dear…

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This Thing Called Life

Smooth sailing?  Not always.

Worth the ride?  Of course!

Lessons learned?  Without a doubt.

Twists and turns?  Hopefully.

A one-time journey?   Yup.

Make the most of it?  One should.

Write about it?  You could;-).

Share with others?  Highly recommended!!

Count your blessings?  Indeed.

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Sail

When Fate Steps In…

When fate steps in, you step back and let be what is going to be.  The difficulty for most comes in not knowing the exact reason why it is that certain things happen, especially when things don’t go as hoped or planned.  Often, it isn’t until much later when we realize the ‘why’ it was or wasn’t meant to be.  I am learning to be patient in discovering the ‘why’ because there always IS a reason.  Sometimes, the reason may even be a life-changing one.  Whether or not we come to fully know it, however, may be a different story.

Today, we should be in Hawaii enjoying the beach, the swaying palm trees, Longboard beer and our covered lanai overlooking the Pacific, but we are not.  My husband and I took a series of misfortunes, including the day before we were due to leave, as a sign that we needed to re-think our vacation and so we did.  Luckily, we were able to re-book for later in the summer.  Confirmation, we think, that we were right in leaving well enough alone to stay in town for now.

What had me wondering after the initial disappointment dissipated somewhat was, ‘What is it that we avoided?  A possible tragedy?  (though hopefully not!)  What is going to happen or maybe not happen, such that the Universe needs us to be here now?  Could we be destined for something else, either now or later on when we are in Hawaii?  Something more grand?’.  And so, after some careful contemplation, I resolved that I may NEVER come to know exactly ‘why’ what happened did–I mean, the final straw was that our house was invaded by flying ants, which really is a little absurd to think about, but VERY real I assure you–but that I needed to accept it all just the same.  And, I have.  Well, mostly.  (But seriously… flying ants?  Anyway…)

When I think of these fateful kind of situations, like the one we are in now, I am reminded of a story that a friend told me–one which could have easily ended in tragedy had fate/the Universe/God not stepped in….

She was sitting at a red light in her car.  The light turned green and she pressed the gas pedal to go, but nothing happened.  In disbelief, she pressed on the pedal again and again and still nothing.  ‘Weird‘.  Just then, another vehicle blew through the intersection and crossed right in front of where she would have been in her car, driver side and all.   Shaken and speechless, she realized that her frustration over her car ‘not working’ was taken over by a greater power in that moment in time and that had it not have, she might not have been here today to tell this hair-raising tale.

And so, just when I lost a Dash of hope in all things good, I reminded myself that everything truly does happen for a reason, ants and all.  It’s part of the journey, our journey, and I am grateful for all that is in the here and now, including the fact that we are here to enjoy it for yet another glorious day, and a warm, sunny one at that!

T. H. I. N. K.

How many times have we found ourselves in situations wherein we wish we could take something back?  A few choice words, a scornful look, an awkward handshake, a wrong name, a bad lane change, a premature text, a distasteful joke and the list goes on.  What’s interesting, of course, is how we all choose to deal with it once it ‘comes out’, so to speak?  Do we Scamper, make excuses, own it, hide, turn red-faced, apologize or simply ignore/disregard that it even happened?  We did a lot of ignoring in my family and not a lot of apologies were ever given that I remember, anyway.  Not surprisingly then, the same pattern of ‘ignorance is bliss’ would follow me into young adulthood.  Also, not surprisingly, it turns out that ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ does NOT work well.  Especially in relationships.  And so, I have worked hard over the past couple of decades to recognize and avoid this self-defeating behaviour.  Here’s the lesson that I have learned when my words/actions don’t always reflect well:  Own it, apologize if necessary and/or if the situation warrants it, and move on.  Not always easy, though. right?

Just recently, I had a discussion with a group of children who found themselves cast into the role of this everyday life debacle, wherein hurtful things were said to another and the situation needed to be resolved.  The truth is that some kids were not even aware that there was an issue, that it had affected another person in a negative way and that it had to be addressed appropriately.  Let’s face it, even as adults, we don’t always discern how our words/actions may have impacted others.  This is how our talk went….

We all have the ability to think for ourselves, to make decisions, to process, to problem-solve, to question, to consider, etc.  This complicated, discreet gift, the gift of thought, is definitely a characteristic that separates us from others in the animal kingdom and it has served and will continue to serve a great purpose for us as humans.  Because it is a gift and because it is private, no one EVER knows exactly what another is thinking.  Pretty cool since it allows us to inwardly explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and emotions, as we navigate our way through life.  But with that realization comes a sense of responsibility, as only WE can be accountable to ourselves for what goes on in our minds.  On the other hand, what we say aloud and what we do also makes us accountable to others, whether we like it or not.  Therefore, it is extremely important to remember a few simple steps to ensure that what we put out in the world reflects the best possible ‘us’, as that will be the same form of energy that comes back to ‘us’.

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Interestingly enough, my sense post-discussion was that some children became more aware of what had happened and the far-reaching effects, which is all that I can ask for as awareness means, in turn, that there is the possibility of acknowledgement and we all know that simple acknowledgement is often half the battle that we fight with others and more importantly, ourselves.  A powerful life lesson for us all, without a doubt.

Scamper

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