Enjoy the moments…

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This is just silly.  Yes.  I embrace silly.  I need as much silly in my life as possible.

Monday I learned that the ashes of a twitter friend were being spread by her family.  You may think…”twitter friend?” How do you bond with someone you have never met? I can’t explain it, but as one shares daily…it just happens and the loss is felt.

The very same Monday I attended a ‘Celebration of Life’ service for a co-worker of mine who died suddenly at 42.  Full of life and adventure one day and then just gone the next.

So, I’m okay with silly.  I want to enjoy adventures NOW and not put them off.  I want to show my appreciation to those around me (face to face and online).  I want to savor the quiet spaces and notice the beauty around me every day.

Enjoy the moments…

 

Piles

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photo: pixabay.com

I fool myself into thinking I’ve cleaned the house when everything looks good, but the drawers are filled with stacks.  Lately I have been trying to live a more organized life, going through papers and deciding where they belong:  Keep, recycle, shred, burn.

Last night I carried a bundle of paper to my husband with the question, “What is this and why do we have it?”  (We had no idea.)

Why are piles so appealing to me.  I once read that when you bring the mail in, touch everything once.  Decide to recycle, toss, or keep for later bill paying or answering.  That sounded like heaven, but I never seemed to get there.  When papers pile up, I tend to move them around and begin a new pile.

Sometimes while going through a pile you find a treasure.  I found a handwritten note from my mom taped to a special prayer my dad had written.  Actually, I found two.  With that mix of sadness and delight, I slipped the messages into a plastic protector.  Keep.

My journey continues….going through stacks.

Are you a stacker, a tosser, or organized?  What are your best tips for my project?  Would love to hear from you.

What day is this?

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There is a rhythm of the school year in most USA learning institutions that begins around September and ends in June.  Although the beginning dates may change a little here and there, these have been the seasons of my life since I was five.

When I received my bachelors from the University of Kansas, I realized that the teaching job I had wanted from the time I was 10 was not the job I wanted as a 20 year old. I had changed. I no longer wanted to teach small children.  But then what?

After graduation, I moved to a different state and tried a variety of occupations for a couple of years.  This did not work out.  If I was a waitress, I would quickly become the one singled out to train the others.  In the print shop, I became the one who trained others on printers, computers, mailing processes, etc.  What was the universe trying to tell me? I fell in love with American Sign Language and was, within two years, teaching others.

It all came back to learning and teaching and the cycles of the school years.  New Years Eve was never a big deal for me.  It seemed to cut my year in half.  The real NYE was always the night before the first day of school.

So, I followed my calling and became a trainer, teacher, and then instructor at a Community College. After what seemed like a lifetime in education, I decided to early retire.  I was able to….so did.  I wondered when the rhythms would tilt and move to match the rest of the country.

What has happened?  The gentle tilt has become a spin.  I seem to have no sense of the calendar at all.  “What is today?” is a question I’ve asked my spouse on more than one occasion.

While I believe that old dogs CAN be taught new tricks, I may always live the rhythms of a school year.  That’s okay, I just have to learn to figure out which day of the week it is.

And really, if that’s my biggest problem, I am blessed indeed.

Friendship

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How lucky was I to get a phone call from a friend of mine…. such a globe trotter…who was in town.  She came over and we had a 3-4 hour visit where I don’t think we took a breath.

So much to share.  She had been a mentor and colleague of mine at the community college where we both spent many many hours at work and at home trying to make a difference in our students’ academic lives.

My friend, Lucy, has never retired.  I don’t think one day or hour goes by without her coming up with a new plan to make the academic lives of students EVERYWHERE more successful.  She hosts a study website.  She travels around the country giving workshops or presentations to instructors.  Add to that, she supports her friends across the country and visits family in Australia.

She continues to inspire me with her passion for learning and teaching others to make learning a part of their lifestyle.

Such a great visit.  Thanks for stopping by, my friend.  Happy trails.

Small World

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While I’m not a big celebrity watcher, I do enjoy a morning talk show “The View” where a small table to women discuss daily news.  The one exception is that if I am star struck with anyone one the show, it is most definitely the most magnificent Whoopi Goldberg.

“The View” group often have guests that are usually there hawking their latest movie or book.  Last week is was Caitlyn Jenner, arguably the most famous transgender woman in the US.  She was talking about her new book.

Not being a huge fan and NOT keeping up with the reality train-wrecks on television (I do not keep up with the Kardashians.) I was half listening until I heard these two words  “Graceland” and “Iowa.”

I came back into the room, backed up the DVR and listened.  Before she was the famous Caitlyn….even before she was the famous Bruce Jenner- Olympic medal winner, Jenner attended a tiny college in Iowa, called Graceland.

My Graceland.  That’s where I attended my first two years of college before transferring to the University of Kansas.  Jenner? Olympic winner?  Graceland?

I hit google and sure enough, Jenner received a scholarship to football at Graceland.  I pulled out my Acacia yearbooks and his name was in the back of both my freshman and sophmore books.  He stayed in a dorm named “Faunce.”  I checked the pictures…..nothing.  Either book.  Hummmm.  He was an upperclassman and I don’t remember him.  But he did attend….  I checked all the yearbook snaps and BINGO!  There he was on page 140 (pictured above).

Small world, indeed.  The people you rub shoulders along the way….who knows their journey.  Those in the stands cheering on the relay race.  Did they know they were cheering on a future Olympian? Reality TV figure? Transgender Woman?

The world is a pretty interesting place, indeed.

April Ocean

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I got such a feeling of “home” when we check into our room at the Sandcastle in Lincoln City, Oregon.  The curtains are pulled back and I am once again in love with the ocean.

Friday was all sunshine and white wispy clouds.  The ocean was jewel colored and slow moving.  We got to town early and visited family having a reunion on the north side of town, high on a hill with a breathtaking view.  We got a tour of the house, chatted a while, and then hugs all ’round before heading to the next adventure.

On PBS, we learned of a art community nearby.  It was a lovely day for a drive, so we took off outside Otis and wound our way to the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.  This lovely plot of land has a cluster of studios where people come to do workshops or residencies in a variety of mediums.  Robert and I enjoyed walking the grounds and chatting with a couple of the folks there.

Returning to the ocean we enjoyed the afternoon watching beachcombers and kite fliers, more than last month.  As the sun started setting, I marveled at how often the sky changed and how the ocean responded in its reflection.

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Saturday and Sunday showed us a different side to the coast.  The rains came and the wind blew so hard mist rose from the whitecaps.  As much as the I love the ocean, this month I paid attention to the sky.  To say the coast was cloudy or gray would be oversimplification.

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There were 100 shades of gray, clouds moving fast and slow.  Instead of deep blue, the ocean was the same gray as the sky.  Were it not for the sandy beach, I would swear I was watching an old black and white movie.  Stripped of color, the sky and ocean came alive with movement.

Our April visit was the same and different as the visits before.  The ocean, rain or shine, is ever faithful as a charger for my spiritual battery.  On the way out of town the traffic was noticeably heavier.  Ah….so this is what April traffic looks like in Lincoln City.  The quiet season is over.  Now the town begins to come alive.

Worth every minute.

P.S.  I was comforted to spot “our” seal again this month.

 

The Weather Vane

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I remember a time when I could juggle countless activities with the agility of a pro.  No matter how (or from where) the wind blew, I could face the new challenge.

The harder the wind would whip the weather vane, the more creative I became.

Over time the wind stilled and the weather vane stopped its movement.

That’s what I thought at first.  But flying scarves, dancing leaves, and the sound of wind chimes told a different story.  It was not the wind, but the weather vane that had changed.  Broken? Rusty? Bent?  Something was wrong.

In the last few months, I have focused so much in one direction that my weather vane had frozen.  Creativity slowed…connections unraveled.

My task at hand is to take a clear look at the weather vane and bit by bit fix its frozen parts.  Oil for rust, hammer for true calibration, and polish for beauty.  This is the job before me.  I prepare myself for the wind and accept the challenge.