Tag Archives: challenges

Your Story

We all have a story to tell. Some are sad and heart wrenching; some are funny and uplifting. But we all have something. I once said that I wanted to write a book entitled “My Life of Mediocrity”. But my life has been anything but ordinary it has been, at times, extraordinary! Now it may not approach the heights of a test pilot or royalty or a celebrity but it was my life and it was lived well. It is still being lived well. And yes, do I have some stories to tell…

I have travelled in my own country and seen heights that I never thought I would. I camped at the top of the Rocky Mountains and the view was breathtaking. I have eaten fish taken moments earlier from the Atlantic Ocean. The only way it would’ve been fresher is if it had still been moving. It was delicious. I have seen wildlife that were truly wild. I was in their world. I will admit they weren’t always happy about it. But I was faster than they were. I have seen stars where there is no light pollution at all. We were literally miles from civilization and the air was cleaner and the silence was astonishing. There is no such thing as true silence if you can hear. As I sat on the shore of the lake and closed my eyes I could hear an owl, I heard the water lapping against the shore ever so gently. Then there was a loon calling wistfully. I could hear the grass slightly rustling and I did wonder what was moving the grass. Because it wasn’t me! There were no voices, there were no cars, no sounds of modern life and it was inspiring.

I remember my first love. The butterflies that took up permanent residence in my stomach. Oh, the joys of young love and the despair when you realize it’s not forever. But then there is another and you once again believe. Hopefully these are memories that will remain with me forever. Some are PG and some are not. This is what has made my life so extraordinary. The people I have met, the experiences I have lived through, good and bad. And each of us has 100 stories, 1000 stories and they are extraordinary because they are ours. We lived them and they are what made us who we are today.

 

 

 

Culture of Ignorance

We live in a culture that does not want to know. We want food to arrive on our tables and programs to arrive in our TV but we don’t want to know how. Why? Because it’s not always pleasant to hear about how the animals are slaughtered or what it truly takes to put on a TV show. We talk about wanting to know the truth but quite frankly, as was once said by Jack Nicholson: We can’t handle the truth! OK that’s not exactly what he said but you get the jest.

We would much rather be entertained by our news than informed. If we are informed then we need to take action and let’s face it we are also a lazy culture. But that’s only part of the world. So much of the world is struggling while we sit back and watch our comedies. I am guilty of this. I find I watch the news less and less because it is depressing and I feel helpless. I want things to get better for everyone and yet I don’t know what I can do. I don’t have an amount of money that I can throw at the issues to correct them and I don’t have any skill set that can make changes. All I can do is offer moral support and when you are hungry from lack of food that’s not good enough. So, I support what agencies I can and hope for the best.

But there is an even more pervasive and destructive ignorance that is far too common:  manners. When I was growing up, I spoke to everyone with respect or I would deal with my parents at home. Not a pleasant thought. I said please and thank you, I said excuse me and when I did something wrong, I owned up to it and I apologized. Does anyone else find these common courtesies are happening less and less?

And I don’t blame the youth for this. I find a lot of them are trying to live up to the standards that we had when we were their age. That’s a good thing. I find older people are becoming less tolerant and more angry. Yes, we have gone through a horrible pandemic, we still are. Nerves are frayed and tempers are short. But isn’t this the time when we need to come together? When we need to stop and think. We’re doing OK. We will make it through this but only together. We need each other. As much as hermits hate the idea of camaraderie and I do hate crowds, we need each other. And that is not a bad thing.

To Plan or Not To Plan

This is a Blast from my Past. I still think it holds true even today. I hope you enjoy it. Previously posted on March 11, 2018.

A friend of mine made a comment the other day that I have been pondering ever since I heard it. He said that ‘a bad plan was better than no plan’.  Now he is a military man so perhaps in that context it might be true.   An intelligent person can always modify a plan on the fly. Thereby changing a bad plan into a good plan.  But using the same rationale: couldn’t one create a plan, on the move, to suit the circumstances of the moment?

My first reaction was that I don’t have a plan. Or rather I make things up as I go along. I like spontaneity and the titillation of not knowing what’s coming next. But then isn’t that idea just a very loose plan?  I’ve been talking myself in circles. On one hand having no plan can leave one floundering with no idea, no concept of how to move forward. On the other hand having no plan could mean that you’re open to create the circumstances you wish while not being constrained by any artificial restraints of your ‘plan’.  Are you confused yet? I am.

Some people enjoy the regimentation of everything being planned to the minutia. Others, myself included, love the instability and challenges that can creep up when you’re not too tightly organized. When I was traveling I made sure I had a plan for getting to my destination and I was aware of my options once I was there but I liked to make any decisions when I opened my eyes in the morning. I liked to be able to change my plans at a second’s notice. I liked the challenge of not knowing what’s around the corner and then reacting to it.

Now isn’t that what life is all about? I am sure my parents had plans for me as a child and worked towards my being a competent adult. I think they did their job well. I of course may be biased in that! But I am a thinking adult. I make my own decisions and I’m capable of reacting to the world around me. I enjoy that aspect. Someone once said that everyone should do one thing a day that terrifies them. I like that idea. I might not do it everyday but I do not shy away from that which frightens me. Except for snakes. Oh my good heavens I am so shying away!!!

Whatever kind of person you are, planner, non-planner or a combination of the two, I think we all have the same goal:  to enjoy life, you’ve only got one!

 

Who are you? Who am I?

Who am I? At this exact moment I’m a writer sitting in front of my computer trying to coax words out of my brain to be formed into some semblance of intelligent thought. How am I doing so far? In a little while I’m going to be ensconced on my balcony with my ear buds in, totally immersed in an audiobook. In the same manner in which I used to lose myself in the pages of a paperback I now am able to lose myself in the voice of an actor performing an intriguing story. Then I will be a reader.

When I was working, I had a persona that I would put on every morning. Professional, calm and focused. I had a job to do. And for the most part I did it very well. I don’t want to brag and say I was perfect because, well, you know, that is so not me. Perfection is something to aspire to, not brag about.

I consider myself an accomplished and confident woman. I wasn’t always. And I still have those moments when I’m not. As a child I was terrified of everything. I had no self-confidence, I thought I was ugly and stupid. Maybe all children go through that phase. And how sad it is. But I was none of those things, I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know who I was or who I could be but over the many years I learned. I read about people I admired, I read about situations that I might one day be in and how to handle them. I would go to parties with pertinent topics to speak about intelligently because I had done the research, just in case somebody asked. I made me who I am today.

But I didn’t do it alone. Family and friends helped to mould me, to support me. Teachers and schoolmates, strangers on the street helped make me who I am today. Every interaction I’ve ever had with someone has left a mark as I have left a mark on them. Hopefully a positive one. But everything we do has consequences. If you smile at a stranger then perhaps they will smile at another stranger and the domino effect is born. Heady stuff I know but we are all interconnected. And that makes us all brothers and sisters.

Some days I am brilliant but some days I’m also that small child that was terrified of the air.  And at my core?  I still believe in who I am, right now.

 

Lost Time

Do you ever worry about the amount of time that is lost by the frivolous indulgences we have? I’ve been known to sit on my balcony and simply stare at the sky, sometimes it feels like it’s for hours. Is that lost time?  At the end of the day, you curl up in front of the TV and watch some so incredibly inane sitcom that you can’t remember the plot 10 minutes after you change the channel. Is that lost time? How about sleeping, or resting when your body is prone and your mind is turned off. Is that lost time?  My answer to all of these questions is an emphatic no!

When I’m sitting, staring on my balcony, my mind is constantly in motion. Story ideas, post ideas, quips, would that work for a poem or is it more of  a short story? My mind is percolating some new idea. It is very rare that I can ever turn it off. On my desktop is a file called In Progress. It is where I put the bits, I can’t make grow but I feel they are worth saving. There are two short stories in there and a poem. There used to be three short stories but after several years of it sitting in that file, I had an epiphany. And I wrote one of my sweetest love stories. It still makes me cry. I am such a wimp!

We lead busy lives. We work hard, we play hard and we live hard. We need downtime to recharge. And let’s face it, we invented time so we can’t lose it even if we tried. It’s always creeping up behind us and screaming that something isn’t right. We are expected to be somewhere or something must be completed forthwith.

Our minds are constantly being bombarded with input. Faces, names, advertising, directions, the list is endless. But we need time to sort out what has been imported. We read, we hear, we feel and we see. Now we have to unscramble it and have it make sense. Sometimes that is easy to do and it’s done almost instantaneously, other times it requires a little more thought. And that thinking requires us to stop. Have you ever gone to bed with a problem nagging in the back of your mind only to wake up with a solution in front of you? That’s because you turned off and let things work naturally. Our minds and our bodies are incredible tools but they need time to recharge.

Many years ago, I knew a woman who read Harlequin romances on a near constant basis. I have never cared for that particular genre but she said it gave her an escape that did not require her to think. She was an incredibly busy woman with a business, a husband and two children. She was constantly on the go. But the books she read took  little time and little effort and it gave her a release that she had not been able to find elsewhere. It was not lost time to her.

As a species we are not built to always be running in top speed. We are not automatons.  We will burn out and so many do. And perhaps that is the lost time.

Employment Opportunities

I thought to be an axe murderer,

But I didn’t have an axe.

It really is a messy job,

And I am far too lax.

 

Bankers work with money,

Billions I am told.

But money’s such a dirty thing,

I think that I will fold.

 

Doctors, lawyers are in need,

But their schooling last so long!

It does not fit my rules of life,

Though some will think I’m wrong.

 

A writer’s life is full of wit,

And angst, to tell the truth.

The boundaries they do not exist!

When creating words forsooth!

 

To sit with paper, pen in hand.

It sounds a wonderful gift.

Perhaps I’ll try my hand at that,

And see where I do drift…

The Concept of Time

In the beginning there was nothing. And within that nothing was more nothing. And then there was something. The Big Bang was the beginning of something but it had no name, it had no form, it simply was. The something grew, it evolved over millions of years and eventually it became us. We as a species need to control, we need to name, to label and to judge. So, we named the nothing and the something and they became ours. We created the concept of time and it was good. Or was it?

“I’m late, I’m late! It’s such a horrid state!”

Does this sound familiar?  We are corralled by time units.  The alarm clock goes off at 6:30 so we have time to get ready for the day and be in the car by seven to make it to work by 7:45 so we can start work at eight. Lunch is at 12 o’clock, work ends at five, dinner at seven, drinks with friends at nine, bed by 11:30. And repeat, repeat, repeat. We may have created the concept of time but now time rules us.

There are time pieces everywhere visually blaring out the exact second we are living. We wear watches, our cell phones show us the time in huge neon numbers. We stare at the clocks but it is time that is staring back.  I know it is a necessary evil, the world needs structure and that structure is bound by the units of time. But sometimes, just sometimes wouldn’t you like to turn it off?

Once upon a Time the world was ruled by the sun. It told us when to get up and it told us when to sleep. But then we harnessed the sun and created artificial ones so we could take over control. That is what we do. We take control. We’ve subjugated the world to our liking and our conveniences. And it is good. Mostly. It is in the folly of our hubris that we actually think we have been the victors. We will learn, hopefully in time.

But it is not the entire world that is ruled by our dictates. Some places have  managed to escape the hunger for more and they live within their means without the concept of time. It is hard and sometimes untenable. That is not a world I could inhabit.  I like the comforts afforded me by living within time. But I can still dream. I can dream of wide-open spaces and quiet gentle fields. I have camped in the wilderness where time has no meaning, where the sun is once again King or Queen. It may have only been for a week or so at a time but it was precious to me. And the memories I retain will always make me wish for a simpler time

Deep Reflections

“If you look deep into your enemies’ eyes you may indeed see yourself.”

I don’t know where this quote comes from. Wikipedia failed me. It may have been a line in a movie or a book and it just stuck in my head. But when you think about it, it is true.  If you are looking at your enemy, then your enemy is probably doing exactly the same thing to you and thinking the same thing. It’s all about perspective.

In this fast-paced world we look, we see, we judge and act on that judgment. It isn’t necessarily true or fair but it’s what most people do. We don’t have the time to spend shaking hands and looking into the eyes of a stranger and getting to know them. And that is a shame and it is a travesty because we miss so much beauty and wealth that it makes us poorer.

We live in a technological world where everything we want to know is at our fingertips. There is so little sharing of information between two people talking, examining feelings and aspirations. All that seems to have been shunted to one side in favour of knowing the latest trend and the most popular celebrity. I enjoyed my ‘getting to know you’ dates. I enjoyed learning, the hard way sometimes. But it was a joy and an experience. Now everything is at my fingertips and I don’t even have to go to the library to check out a reference book. I wonder if someday we will be no longer need to interact at all with another human being. It will all be done by computer bits and bytes.

I am going out for lunch with a friend in a few days and I am feeling a little anxious. It’s not like I haven’t done this hundreds of times but I’m afraid I will have forgotten the niceties. It’s been a year and a half and I have grown comfortable in my reclusiveness, perhaps too comfortable. Hence the necessity for going out to a restaurant.

When we look deep into the eyes of another, we do see ourselves or the version of ourselves we believe. Each of us feels love, despair, hurt and an endless harmony of emotions. No one is alone in their feelings. Human beings are social animals, we need each other. We need to see each other and to physically connect even if it is just a simple hug. Times don’t allow for all of that right now but they will, in time and while I hate to say it: we must be patient or we could lose it all.

 

Midnight Snack

On the way to the kitchen,

I felt a pang of despair.

The shopping wasn’t done,

The food wasn’t there!

 

The growling continued,

It was really quite loud.

I was worried the neighbours,

Would think it’s a crowd!

 

The fridge was near empty,

And the cupboards were too.

A box of dog biscuits,

Add an egg that was blue?

 

An emergency in the making,

Is this 2 AM tryst.

I really am hungry,

My dinner I missed!

 

My eyes are growing sleepy,

My hunger can wait.

I must put my head down,

For an hour or eight.

 

I’ll have dreams of some bacon,

Some eggs and some toast.

My mind will be satiated,

With eating engrossed.

 

Then in just a few hours,

I shall be replete.

My hunger assuaged,

The crisis complete.

 

 

The item above is a picture of Monkey Bread. It is a wonderful, sweet, delectable 2 AM snack. And I speak from experience.

Monkey Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2cup granulated sugar
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2cans (16.3 oz) refrigerated Biscuits (8 Count)
  • 1/2cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 1/2cup raisins, if desired
  • 1cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions

Heat oven according to the biscuit package. Generously grease 1 pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large 1-gallon plastic food storage bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces. Sprinkle any remaining sugar over biscuits.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces. 

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Loosen edges of pan with metal spatula. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; replacing any biscuit pieces and caramel from pan. Pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

 

Turtle Eyes

There’s a turtle sitting on my desk,

He staring right at me!

He makes me start to wonder,

Of a life that is carefree.

 

My little turtle is not real,

He’s made of stone you see.

But he reminds me of the ocean,

And of life there being free.

 

To race the waves without care,

To play beneath the kelp.

Prey and predator have a place,

They really need no help.

 

If only we could understand,

The synchronicity of life.

Then perhaps we’d have a chance,

To mend our world of strife.

 

To live in peace would be the dream.

When all would be as one.

Reach your hand out to another,

And then my work is done.

 

There’s a turtle sitting on my desk,

He staring right at me!

I think he likes what I have said,

I’m sure he does agree.