Tag Archives: perception

Mind Craze

Mini-mazes of the mind,

Where ideas go to breed.

They find a place they like to sit,

And then they plant a seed.

 

And in time there is a shoot,

A mini notion starts.

Then of course it gains it’s strength,

And plans those special parts.

 

Will it be a story,

Of lust and love and death?

Or will it be a poem,

About a baby’s breath?

 

I do not know the course,

The direction I will choose.

But I know I’m happy,

When words become my muse.

 

Mini-mazes of the mind,

A wondrous place to play.

Now I guess my time is up,

And I must say:  good day!

Conversations with Myself

I was washing my dishes the other day and trying to think of something to write about for my Sunday post. I was remembering conversations I have had with people, articles in the news I had seen or heard.  I even started listening closely to the construction banter outside my window.  It is annoying but necessary and the inconveniences experienced today mean that this small section of our lives will be better in the future.  Hmmm, Progressive Thought or Subversive Rhetoric?

As I was trolling through the flotsam and jetsam that meander through my mind it suddenly dawned on me:   I was talking to myself!  Not a conversation that one would have with a companion. Or maybe I am my own companion. Hum.  That does bear thinking about. I was not having a conversation like I would with a friend, a human or animal one. It wasn’t out loud. But when you make a decision aren’t you actually talking to yourself about whether or not to go right or left, up or down?

Don’t judge me but sometimes I think I split infinities with myself! This is what happens when I am left unattended. I turn inward and stroll through the corridors in my mind.  And I have over six decades of passageways in there with a whole lot of side tracks and cubby holes.  I am starting to sound like a Star Trek episode! But think about it . . . who are you trying to convince when you want that second piece of pie?  (Or the first one!)

I like my mind. Mostly. I can sometimes go off on a tangent or become so hyper-focussed that I see absolutely nothing around me. For example. I draw the little icons that you see on my Daily Quips and Shady Quips. Every year I draw new ones because I get bored. This year I spent hours hunched over my Paint Program deciding what I wanted to draw. I’m a couple of months early. I don’t need it until January but it had popped into my mind and I couldn’t let it go.

Having a good focus is always positive but a hyper-focus can be a little disconcerting. I will honestly say that I now have several choices and I like them all. So now I have to do the other thing I’m not always fond of doing: making a choice between two or three. But I have a couple of months to do that so there is no rush. I do like to be prepared.

And isn’t that what life is all about: preparing for it? We cannot plan for every eventuality but we can be aware of the possibility of the unforeseen.  Rather tantalizing don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing

I was sitting on my balcony recently, causally glancing over the buildings in the near distance and I saw something I had never seen.  Now I have lived in this town, in this apartment building, in this apartment, for more than twenty-five years.  I have been venturing out on to this balcony literally hundreds of times. And I never saw it before?  It wasn’t the fact that it had been there decades longer than I have, it was that I hadn’t noticed it.

Our eyes may look but it is our brain that sees.  How many times have you walked into a room, looked around and missed seeing the person you were there to meet? They were standing in plain sight but you missed them.  How many times have you bumped into something or someone right in front of you?  Your eyes were open but your brain was distracted.

I was walking in a mall one day many years ago when I was startled by an old friend, just inches from my face.  He said that he had been waving and while I was looking at him, he realized I hadn’t seen him.  I hadn’t.  My mind, my brain was preoccupied.  So, while the saying ‘seeing is believing’ is catchy, I don’t believe it.

Four people see a traffic accident.  They will have four different accounts.  Ask any First Responder.  We all SEE things differently. Our eyes see and our brain interprets. And THAT is what we witness.

I look out over a pristine forest and I see great beauty in the flora and fauna. Someone who makes their living from cutting down those trees sees his children with food on the table and a roof over their heads. We are looking at the exact same thing and yet we ‘see’ something completely different. And therein lies the conundrum.

What is the truth? What is the truth to you?  There are some facts that are irrefutable and yet some people refuse to believe them. Why? Perhaps they are unable to handle the truth. And it is so difficult to sift through the masses of information and misinformation that we are bombarded with every day.  Sometimes it is easier to listen to whoever speaks the loudest.  Sad but true. What does that say about us as a people?  Mistakes have been made in the past that affected the entire world because the masses listened to the wrong voice. How can we ensure that doesn’t happen again?

Oh and what was it that I had not noticed?  It was the name of the building I was looking at in four-foot letters!

 

End Transmission

There are people who walk among us, special people.  They could be a neighbour, a stranger, a brother, a friend.  They could be white or black, yellow or beige. These people walk the streets of the city and the fields of the country. They are there in the right place, at the right time, to do the right thing.  You might call them Facilitators.

********************

Abigail was picking up the last few items on her list: bottled water, low fat cookies and of course tissues.  One should always have lots of tissues on a long trip. As she was paying for the few items in her basket, she spied a small, one shot, fire extinguisher.  Without thinking she added the cylinder to her pile.  Now she was ready.

Fire.  She could see the car just ahead.  A woman was standing beside the vehicle looking lost.  She wasn’t screaming or panicking, just quietly standing and staring.  Abigail pulled her car over and stopped.  Quickly she grabbed her newly purchased fire extinguisher and raced to the burning vehicle.  It didn’t take much to put out the fire, it was still quite small.  If the gas tank or the engine oil had caught fire . . .  Everything was under control.  The woman hadn’t moved the entire time.  She just stood and stared.  Thank all that is holy that Abigail had come by at just the right time. She wondered what it was that had made her pick up a fire extinguisher at the last moment. It wasn’t something she had ever had in her car before. It was exactly what she had needed today, but how had she known ahead of time?

 

David enjoyed his early morning drives.  It gave him time to decompress, to relax. There was no one pestering him, no one concerned about what he had to say, no responsibilities, no life and death decisions. He relished this time alone.

He chuckled. He was also a creature of habit so everyone knew where he would be at any given moment. Even on his well known drives. And then, without thinking, he turned right instead of left. This was not his usual route but he didn’t change direction. Perhaps he was curious. Perhaps it was an error.  Perhaps he was guided by another’s hand.

There was a bump in the road ahead so David slowed down. As he grew closer, he realized it was a body, no, it was a man and he was alive. David had spent the last 20 years as an emergency room doctor. He had never had to use his skills outside a sterile room but now he was glad he had made a wrong turn.

The man lived. His children kept their father. His wife kept her husband. And their lives continued. All because one man looking for a little peace and quiet made a wrong turn. But did he?

 

Ahmed looked at his paper. He knew he was right. But how to get the others to understand that something was going on. The students in his writing class just thought that he liked Science Fiction. But his Physics teacher was starting to understand.  There were too many incidents.  Documented occurrences.  There was a correlation. There’s something pushing us, perhaps making us better? There was definitely something going on.  Something . . .

 

********************

 

Begin transmission.

Director, we may have a problem. I am getting a red light on Facilitator 439122 at grid 19, section 4.  We have been having problems with this particular model.  It appears that they have a more superior capacity for problem solving than we were initially led to believe. This particular Facilitator is beginning to question the regularity of the designed incidents.  It is important for the validity of our tests and our test subjects, that any and all management be undisclosed.  Otherwise all the results will be useless.  Director, please advise.

End transmission.

Begin transmission.

Administrator, the subjects were chosen for your research based on their innate ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations.  I would suggest that you amend your data to accommodate this unforeseen propensity for disentanglement.  If you feel that your research will be unduly compromised then I suggest you terminate that particular line of research.

End transmission.

 

*********************

It was not an easy decision.  A great deal of time had been spent cultivating the necessary specimens.  But the research had become contaminated.  They were starting to understand. There was no other alternative.   End transmission.

 

 

The end

I Remember

As I am sure most of the world knows, we are all dealing with having to be isolated, away from each other. Many of us are dealing with having to be on our own, alone. And that is very new. I am enjoying my hermit mode but today I wasn’t interested in reading or watching TV, I wanted to think, I wanted to remember. So I made myself a little challenge: how much could I remember of my childhood. To put things into context I have more than six decades of experiences to remember.

Because I have lived in so many places and I know what years I did, I can calculate where my memories fit in the whole scheme of things.

Winnipeg, Manitoba  ages 0-5

I remember my very first friend:  Tanis.  I liked dogs better than I did most children.  Tanis was a boxer. I don’t remember any of the kids.

Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario ages 5 – 8

I remember picking blueberries for my mother to make a pie. I had a pail but I probably ate as much as I put in that pail. I remember the rocks we had to climb. It was part of the Canadian Shield. If I think hard enough, I can feel the stone beneath my hands and smell the grass. I remember the houses we lived in, that I played in.  I remember a horse and sulky racing along the main street. (A sulky is a lightweight cart with two wheels and a seat for the driver)

Good memories.

Saint John, New Brunswick ages 8 – 13

I can remember walking back from a local swimming hole with a group of boys and girls and it was hot. It was hot enough that I took off my shirt. A boy came up to me and was horrified that I would take my shirt off, he told me it was not allowed because I was a girl. I’m retorted that I might be a girl but I didn’t have anything to prove I was a woman. Or something along those lines. His comment upset me and I went home and told my mother. I don’t remember her reaction but I don’t remember being upset again. I also did not take off my shirt again, in public.

I remember watching kittens play beneath the feet of huge horses. It was a working farm that my friend Marion lived on. The horses were Clydesdales  or Percherons, really big working horses but so incredibly gentle. I remember playing with the piglets. Until they grew up and became mean.  They were destined for the pot.  I spent a lot of time on that farm. The family was so incredibly generous.

I remember Kathy T. and her cat Rusty.  Rusty was an outdoor cat at Kathy’s home but he was best friends with my dog Beau and would come and sleep on my bed at night.

I could continue but this post is long enough.  I am pleased that I could still recall those idyllic times. The person I am today was formed in those distant times and I was lucky, my childhood was a positive one. I plan on one day in the future, looking back on these days.  It has been a rough time but it could have been worse.  I am thankful for the blessings of today, small though they may be.

I enjoyed traipsing through my past.  If your past is remembered, it is not gone.  How about you? Any memories you would like to remember?

 

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Shield  is a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks (geological shield) that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent. Glaciation has left the area only a thin layer of soil, through which the composition of igneous rock resulting from long volcanic history is frequently visible.[3] With a deep, common, joined bedrock region in eastern and central Canada, the Shield stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, covering over half of Canada and most of Greenland; it also extends south into the northern reaches of the United States. Human population is sparse and industrial development is minimal,[4] but mining is prevalent.    WikiPedia

 

 

A Lizard Smiled

 

A little lizard smiled at me,

I don’t know what to say.

He looked back and then he winked,

It took my breath away!

 

He flicked his tail above his head,

As if in brisk salute.

And then he turned away from me,

He was so very cute!

 

He winked again and then he smiled,

And I knew our time was brief.

I thanked him kindly in my way,

Then watched in disbelief!

 

He seemed to stand upon his toes,

A ballet dance in motion.

Then I blinked and he was gone,

Was he just a notion?

A Perfect Cup of Tea

I am a snob. There I said it. It’s true. Anyone that knows me knows that I am, unrepentantly, a snob. Specifically, I am a tea snob. There are some things in this life that I will not skimp on. And one of those things is a leafy beverage that I enjoy, usually in the morning. No regrets, no apologies.

I once made a joke to a friend that coffee was the drink of the masses, tea was the drink of the elite. It was said in jest. But is it?

As says the all-knowing (sic) Wikipedia:

According to Chinese legend, the history of tea began in 2737 B.C.E. when the Emperor Shen Nong, a skilled ruler and scientist, accidentally discovered tea. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot.

I have no idea if this is actually true or not but it is a nice story. And since there is no actual documentation of said incident, it comes down through legend. And we do know that many legends have a basis in truth… China is credited with the invention of tea. It is now worldwide and is grown in many countries. There are almost as many flavours of tea as there are hairs on your head. If you do indeed have hair. There are also a great many customs about the best way to drink said beverage. It is confusing world.

I grew up drinking tea after dinner. It was a family thing. My mother made a pot of tea with Red Rose tea bags. My cup was always heavily fortified with milk and sugar.  When I was in school a group of us used to meet for coffee. Usually the boys would go and get the beverages and I always asked for tea with milk and sugar. My Styrofoam cup would appear with a teabag floating in a milky liquid. I started to drink my tea clear, without the milk and sugar. I still can’t get that image out of my head!  Over the years I evolved as did my taste buds. Some 30 years ago my sister introduced me to loose-tea and I never looked back. It became an obsession. I investigated the correct way to steep tea, to store it, which pots to use for which tea, etc, etc, etc.

Now I use simpler means. I have a dedicated infuser for my black teas, I drink out of glass mugs so I can gauge the steeping by the colour of the tea not the timer. I also only use loose tea. A few years ago, I saw a documentary on tea and the process the leaves go through to be mass produced into those teeny tiny bags. And then I understood the comment about the masses and the elite. If the documentary is true, then those teabags are filled with the dregs after the proper leaves have been removed. Did I feel sanctimonious? You betcha! I am quite sure it’s not as bad as this. I do however believe the flavour of loose tea is richer than the bags. Is it convenient? No. But I can handle a little inconvenience for a perfect cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subtext

 

Recently I was watching an old police drama. One character, that was being interviewed, was obfuscating and it dawned on me that it was all about the subtext. Of course, my little brain went wooooh!  My first thought was that kids today don’t understand subtext and then I realized:  that is how our youth speak to each other.  I am also not entirely sure they understand the art of communication. They can actually have complete conversations in 280 characters!  It used to be 140! And yet the average ‘text’ is usually only about 33 characters.  I can’t say ‘hello’ properly in less than 50.  And that is characters not words. When I was a youth, a text was a book, a sub was either a sandwich or a boat and characters were on the screen. Well, not really but those are the first things I think of.

Our language has evolved as our children have evolved. Today’s kids are in many ways much smarter than we ever were. But they are also dumber. Sorry that’s not fair.  But think about it:  how many have lost the ability to read cursive or tell time on an analog clock?  Good manners are no longer common place, good sense is lacking and good courtesy . . .

A proper conversation was fluid and accentuated with gestures and facial reactions, whole body movements. Dialogues today are via texts.  Heads down, eyes focused on a 4 x 6” screen.  And this is while they are sitting next to each other!  There is no sharing of emotions or reactions.  How can you experience the flavour, the intensity of a language if you are alone or unaware?  People who are blind or hearing-impaired use touch or movement to round out their talks.

Today’s conversationalists speak emoji. Teeny, tiny little figures that denote emotion. I think. I don’t really speak emoji. I know if I see a little yellow face with a smile that’s a good thing.  I have seen people use an entire string of these emoji creatures and they’re actually speaking a sentence. Impressive. But like so many languages, I can only speak a few words. But I can fake it really well!

I am afraid to look too far into the future. Will conversations become soundbites and emojis? Or will we regress to a time when people sat over a cup of tea and had long conversations with gestures and substance. I don’t want to spend an hour over lunch discussing some actor’s transcendental metamorphosis while he was grooming his dog. I like a real conversation about life, the world, the future . . .

For at least a little while we are going to have to be inventive in how we have our chats. But I truly hope we do not retreat to the little glass screen but we keep a dialogue going face-to-face even if it is at a distance. That to me is a conversation.

 

The Crocodile

 

A croc was basking

In a summer pond,

Waiting for lunch

To pass by.

 

His eye on the clouds

He suddenly thought,

‘My stomach is grumbling

for pie!’

 

A fish was not right,

An elephant neither,

So all he could do,

Was sigh.

 

Dreaming of a day

When pies could be real,

He continued to stare

At the sky.

 

Remember that croc

And follow your dreams,

All you must do

Is try.

 

Anticipation

 

What a lovely word. Just the way it rolls off your tongue. An- tici-pation.  When I was working, I loved Fridays in anticipation of the weekend. One can see a cheesecake and anticipate the way it is going to roll around your mouth slowly melting, the sweet, succulent goo sliding down your throat.  One can anticipate the touch of a lover or the ending of a good story. It makes me positively tingly when I am anticipating something exciting. And in many ways, everything is exciting. Until it isn’t.

There is another side to anticipation. There is the side that cripples you with fear when anticipating an activity you do not want to be a part of. When I was a young adult I was terrified of crowds. (To some extent I still am.) Ever a resourceful child, I develop strategies to deal with almost every situation. I did my research on popular topics of the day so if it ever came up in conversation I wouldn’t look like an idiot. I was always afraid of saying the wrong thing or doing something stupid. And quite honestly, I have done both, more than once. I am nothing if not consistent.

Research is a strength of mine. And I put it to good use. I also developed phrases, witticisms that I could pull out at a moment’s notice. When people are amused, they are not noticing.  In University I studied Drama and English. It gave me a whole new set of skills that I could use in my subterfuge. And I was good. When I was performing, I would almost throw up before going on stage but once I got there, I could inhabit my alter ego and act with aplomb. I never felt that I was cheating other people, I was protecting myself. I was protecting that six-year-old child who would be dizzy with panic at having to face someone.

I am older now but that child is still buried deep within my psyche. I may appear to be confident and to some extent I think I am. But that fear will always lurk in the back of my mind. And I am not alone. There are others who deal with the same kind of issues:  crippling fears, lack of self-confidence, all-consuming nervousness. But while as a child I felt I was alone; I know now that I am not. And that in itself gives me confidence.

Like so many things we do, if we do it long enough it becomes a habit.  To this day I constantly have conversations in my head about situations that might arise so that I am prepared, just in case. I think we are all afraid of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. We all want to seem positive and clever to other people. Perhaps it can even be seen as an incentive to learn more about what’s going on in the world, to be prepared.  As a child my family all sat around the dinner table and talked. Most of the time I just listened but I also learned. The topics ranged from what happened that day in a 9 year old’s world to the politics of the time.  This continued throughout my life.

We all have a fantasy about being someone else, or being a better version of ourselves.  That is commendable. But that anticipation can be both exciting and terrifying. And that’s what makes it all fun.