Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flowers of Silence

Hanging by my front door is a framed postcard I bought in France. Roughly translated, it says, "The words unspoken are the flowers of silence." I have it there to remind me to watch my words as I go out into the world. The old adage about the tongue not being tamed certainly applies to me, although I am much better than I used to be.

These days, as communication happens in so many ways other than out in the world, I may have to make myself another reminder. Perhaps I need one in my office as well. Taming my fingers is sometimes as much of a struggle as taming my tongue - sometimes more.

I know others experience the same thing at times. Sometimes I'm dealing the snarkiness, and sometimes I'm the recipient of it. My initial reaction when I'm on the receiving end is to respond. But, I'm trying to just hold my tongue/fingers and let it go.

One of my rules for living used to be, "Let it go. Let it be. Let it lie." This seems an apropos time to reinstate that rule.

Now, if only I can do that.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

First Generation of Women in My Family Born with Right to Vote

I'm glad some of my foremothers and forefathers were more forward thinking than Miss Florence Hoagland of 55 Monroe Street. I don't know in what town Miss Hoagland resided. I took this at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

I am the first generation of women in my family born with the right to vote. Yes, the first. No, I'm not that ancient.

I came along late in the lives of Jack and Mary Lea Terrell. My mother was born the year women got the right to vote - 1919, in case your high school civics class fails you. Do the math on that, and you'll realize that women haven't been able to vote for even 100 years yet.

My mother, my grandmothers, and all the women who came before us had no say in the political process when they came into this world. I understand how special it is that I do, and I take it seriously, Miss Hoagland's objections notwithstanding.

We are all products of our times. Her time and mine are very different. She may have believed her place was to subject to her husband. And that may have worked very well for her, and I don't begrudge that path to her or anyone else. But the part of that equation that often gets left out is that the husband is supposed to treat his wife with respect.

I live in a time when I have no husband, but men in politics expect women to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy from "legitimate rape." Perhaps Miss Hoagland lived in a time when such things were unknown. I do not. Because I do not, I have no choice but to participate in the process, such as it is. I cannot ignore. I will not subject to men who show such incredible disrespect for all women.

Not participating in the political process is subjecting to that viewpoint. I will not. Instead, I will vote, at every available opportunity.

Yes, politics may be a messed up world, but it's the one we've got to work with at the moment. So, the least I can do is make sure I'm participating in the system to the smallest degree, which is voting.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Around the Corner

In everyone's life, there are times when you can't quite see around the corner. I'm at one of those places.

I am certain it's a bright future. I just can't see around the corner. Yet.

While I'm contemplating what's next, posts here may be a bit more scarce, brief, or wordy beyond belief. Even I don't know. That's part of what makes life wonderful, isn't it?

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David Vidal at Hastings Tonight

David Vidal is playing tonight at Hastings Hardback Cafe from 6-8 p.m. He is from California and has been playing a few gigs in the area the last week or so. I recorded this at Smith's Market last week. I've seen him multiple times when he has come for Third Thursday.

Please, do yourself a favor, and get out and see him.

The cafe has happy hour, with two for one drinks. Come out and support Hastings doing something cool, and enjoying some fabulous music.

Oh... and, of course... it's also free. Although, please, do buy something while there if at all possible. Let Hastings know you appreciate their efforts.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Change and Learning

Recently some friends and I were pondering the question, "What absolutely delights you?" As I thought about this, two things came to mind immediately, and they are somewhat related. I am absolutely delighted by learning. I have a nearly insatiable curiosity - at least about things that interest me.

I could tell you a half dozen things about the Egyptian God Horus represented in this photo off the top of my head. Because I'm interested in that. Unfortunately, this does not extend to topics in which I do not have an inherent interest.

But I love to pick up those little "tidbits," as I call them, about various things. I'm horrible at trivial pursuit because I have little interest in movies and such. I'd be far more likely to do well with questions about ancient mathematicians than I would about movie actors. Honestly, sometimes when I drive by a theatre, I don't even recognize the names of the movies.

So, learning really delights me. The other thing that definitely delights me is meaningful/interesting conversation. I think it is somewhat related to learning because during such conversation I'm likely to learn something.

As I thought more about this, I began to wonder if people who like to learn also manage change better. It seems like a reasonable jump - people who are engaged in learning and are confident they can learn something new, would feel less overwhelmed by change. I'm not sure this is a solid principle, I'm still mulling it over.

And, of course, whatever conclusion I come to is just me prattling on and has no basis in scientific fact. It's just interesting to think about.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Keeper of the Plains in Wichita

This weekend I had an opportunity to be at the Keeper of the Plains in Wichita. Every night they light these amazing fire pots.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been there before. Yes, I know, it's awful, but I hadn't. However, now that I've been once, I'll definitely be back.

It was a great experience, made all the better by walking around there with a friend and enjoying the fire pots, the cool rocks, (yes! rocks!) and the statue. This is a very important, sacred site, and I will stop and appreciate that much more on subsequent visits when there are fewer people around.

I am guessing I've probably been in the neighborhood of it when they would have been lighting the fire pots at least a hundred times - probably more - and have never been. Shame on me.

Forgive me Wichita. I didn't know it was that cool. But now I do. And I'll be back.

Don't make the same foolish mistake I made. Go!

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Saturday, August 18, 2012


As you know if you've read here for any amount of time, I believe our connections to our fellow humans is one of the most precious things. I've spent the last 36 hours or so connecting with people I really enjoy being with, and it has been amazing.

It's curious how we make connection with other people. Maybe we have something in common - a belief system, a hobby, or just a favorite color. Whatever draws us to another person, if the connection is reinforced, it tends to grow.

I'm so thankful to have opportunities to make connections with interesting people, and so glad to have technology like Facebook to stay engaged even if we can't geographically be in the same place. We certainly live in interesting times.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Rivers and Me

Tonight I was part of a panel talking about rivers. This is the presentation I delivered. I have posted bits and pieces of it here before, but thought some might enjoy reading the full copy.


I am a person of rivers.

I grew up in Kentucky, a few miles from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. If you've read Huck Finn, you know the nearby spot of Cairo, Illinois.

For those of us born to rivers, they are life itself. We speak of them reverently. We fear them. We cherish them. We are drawn to them by a force we cannot comprehend but have no choice but to obey. They flow through our souls. They define us.

We go to the river for strength, for guidance, for solace. We cannot possibly find our way in the world without returning to the river periodically. It beckons to us. We cannot deny its call. We learn at a young age that there's no point in even trying. Not that we want to anyway. The river knows when we are away from it too long. It summons us home.

We gather at the riverside for family celebrations, baptisms, and catharsis. We have rituals, public and private, that are carried out only on those banks.

We learn early the river is dangerous, with currents that take grown men under and let them resurface again only when the life is gone from them. Stories swirl of men who were good swimmers heading to the river one morning to fish, and never coming home again. But that's not reason enough to keep his brother from going the next day. The mystery draws us.

Hindus believe confluences are holy. Those of us born to rivers know that to be true. The river has power we cannot begin to understand. We humble ourselves at its shores.

We take our cares, our worries, our sins we confess to no one, and dump them into the river - metaphorically and literally. We surrender the jewelry from men we no longer love to the currents. We give the left-over love to the waves, to rid ourselves of it, so we can love another. We cleanse our minds by walking along the shoreline, letting the sound of water carry away errant thoughts and feelings. Like love, the river may be dangerous, but it's ever enticing as well.

The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers is a place I return to when I've lost my way in the world. I have said prayers of thanksgiving and prayers of entreatment from the same spot. I have sought direction and consolation. I will do so as long as I walk on the Earth.

I can't give you the river. I can't even explain its attraction for those of us born to it. It is a constant - our true north. The river demands our attention. And we give it. We have no choice.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five Things Writers Do

Writing often seems mysterious, and a bit of a romantic notion - at least to people who haven't actually done it much. Some people are stuck at the romance part of the equation, and rarely venture into the actual reality part.

So, as a public service, I give you:
Five Things Writers Do

1. Writers write.
2. Writers revise.
3. Writers read.
4. Writers write more.
5. Writers revise more.

Bonus Tip: Writers professionally accept critique from editors. It doesn't mean you can never question it, but editors are doing their best to keep you from looking stupid. They are not your enemies. They are your friends. Treat them with respect.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life is Full

Life is a great big canvas, 
and you should throw 
all the paint on it you can. 
                          ~ Danny Kaye

Such good advice for life. The time is short. 

We never know how many days we have yet to live, so best to make the most of every one of them. Regardless of how many there are, it won't be enough. the world is so full of amazing places to go, sights to see, people to meet, and things to do. We won't have time to do it all. 

So, no point in wasting a moment. Might as well soak up all we can.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Taking Action

An ounce of action
is worth a ton of theory.
                                   -- Friedrich Engels

This is something I keep reminding myself of on a regular basis. It's fine to mull over ideas, consider options, and think about what to do next. But, I must remember one of my rules for living; It's almost always wrong to do nothing. I must DO something beyond thinking if I want something to happen. It's such a simple lesson, but so easily lost.

I just recently completed a visioning process, and I do need some time to contemplate all of that. But it must be leading to putting new things into action.

Life is a thrill ride!
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Power to the Pen from Pilot

I'm participating in Pilot's Power To The Pen challenge. You can learn more about it by clicking here.  Essentially, the challenge is to write a blog entry with pen. (This was written with a Pilot G2 - purple.)

You know I love the handwritten word, which is why I have Words by Hand! If you feel the urge to be included in that project, see info here. 

Just to be clear - no one sent me any free pens, or paid me anything to do this. I just did it 'cause it sounded cool!
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Weird Moments

Today I was researching the Wildlife and Wetlands Byway in Kansas. I googled - as would be my wont. I found a newsletter. I glanced over it. And I found myself quoted.

It was from a piece I'd written on the blog, and it's lovely they found it and are using it. I just didn't know. And guess I never would have known if I hadn't gone looking for information for something else.

They are doing what I suggest clients do - use good things people say about you to your advantage. They just stopped before completing the circle and letting me know so I could promote them.

Life has some weird moments sometimes...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Old Manual Typewriter

This is my latest purchase - Royal Typewriter, probably made in the 1930s. I asked on Facebook if anyone had one and a friend did. Her husband brought it into town, I forked over a $20, transaction completed.

Someone on Twitter asked if I was going "old school." In reality, I want it for an art project.

But, these things never go quite as smoothly as one might hope.

I just drove straight to Gary's Office Machines, which I had called yesterday to ask about ribbons. He nicely came out and got it out of the car (it's heavy!), took it in, and determined there were no spools in there. Apparently they can wind a new ribbon onto the old spools, (think cassette tapes and pencils) but we need the spools. So, I'm on the hunt...

I have a couple of places to check out that I didn't have time to connect with yet. Until then, it's just riding around in my car seat. I see no point in carrying it inside until I've located the necessary items.

It will work. Eventually. Just not today.

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Visioning Retreat Collage

I spent the weekend in retreat with friends, working on a visioning collage. I've done this three times previously, and this was the most intense one overall. These are a couple of snippets from mine, the theme of which was, "My Ideal Life."

I'm a firm believer in this process. It's quite amazing how it works. I'm eager to see what develops as a result in the next few months.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Posting Here and There

You may have noticed I'm not posting every day on the blog lately. There are two things at work.

1. My computer is so slow it's cumbersome to do. I need to replace it and just haven't yet. Actually getting a post up is a process that takes longer than it should.

2. I upload photos and life details to Facebook almost every day, and often don't duplicate it here. So, while this was my "chronicle of life" place, that now happens more on Facebook. If you're not connected with me there, please just send me a request and we can connect there.

Once I get a new computer, I'm sure I'll get back into a more regular routine. Waiting on a computer makes me a little crazy, so I don't do it any more than necessary!

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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Touch of Grace

It's often the little things that have such impact on how we perceive something. When I arrived at a B and B recently and opened the fridge to store some food I had brought, I was greeted with this. It was completely unexpected, and completely charming.

It was a little something extra the owner left for me. A delightful surprise on a scorching hot day. The tag told me it was fresh and had been prepared with me in mind.

These little things, that took a bit of effort, but even more thought, are what stay with us. It's like the old adage about it being the thought that counts when it comes to gifts.

As always when I stay here, I was charmed by this little touch of grace. We all need more of them in our lives.

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Friday, August 03, 2012

Bales of Hay

I remember when hay started being baled in these large round bundles. It seemed so odd at the time. We were used to the rectangular bales that high school boys would toss up into the truck and eventually up into the hay loft. Some made it look effortless, some labored more, but all sweated in the heat.

These round bales can be moved around with machinery, which eliminates the need for the physical labor. One man on a tractor can do what a crew used to do. They don't require a hayloft, but can sit like sentinels in the open field, waiting to be used. I suppose if there's some rot, it's a minor amount and worth the loss. Plastic coverings protect them in some places, sheds in others.

A friend on Facebook tells me these are going for $175 each in Oklahoma. I don't know if that's the going rate elsewhere or not. I do know it wouldn't take very long for that to add up if you have very much livestock.

Every business has its trials, but farming seems to have more than its fair share.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Kansas Prairie

It has taken me a long time to appreciate the Kansas Prairie, and it is harder in these times of drought when the landscape is brown except for the weeds. But I have learned to find a different kind of beauty in the more delicate things that make the prairie home.

Weeds are one of the survivors, it seems. They flourish regardless of the weather. Only frost can send them underground, just long enough for them to gather strength to reappear with the first glimmer of spring. But that seems to be the case for all eco-systems, not just the prairie.

I do love seeing windmills in farmers' fields. I'm not sure why, but they symbolize a time and place and there's a beauty in that, too. Being able to understand a situation because of only one thing like that is quite wonderful.

I'm not sure the cows standing in the hot sun nearby were quite as thrilled with the scene as I was.

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