Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Greg created another fine Halloween display at my house this year. We didn't have a whole bunch of trick or treaters, which surprised me because the weather was perfect. But we really enjoyed the ones who came.

I love Halloween. Greg, Sharon and I had fun - even without tons of trick or treaters.

Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011


We are all seeking redemption in some way or other.

Maybe we are trying to leave behind a past that includes some things we're not proud of. Maybe we're seeking forgiveness. Maybe we lament that while we have that from others we can't extend it to ourselves. Whatever the case, we inherently understand there is power in redemption, and we're trying to find our way to it.

But sometimes, when we least expect it, redemption finds us. There we are on an idle weekday morning when it arrives by way of a kind word, a flash of understanding, or witnessing the best in our fellow humans.

Wherever, whenever and however redemption comes calling, it's always a welcome guest.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

We All Want to Matter

Each of us wants to matter. We want to be recognized for our contributions, our thoughts or our work. We want to know we would be missed if we weren't around. When people talk about leaving a legacy, what they are saying is they want to matter even beyond their lifetime.

One way to matter, is to take the opportunities that present themselves to make others feel they matter. I'm reminded of that old quote about how people may not remember what you said, but they'll remember how you made them feel. I think that's definitely true.

It's also a good exercise to consider how we matter, and if we don't think we do, how we might live differently so we can. I think everyone just wants to feel recognized and heard - to know they matter.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Trust Your Instincts

I've always had issues with trust. The reasons are myriad, and not worth spending my energy typing about. At some point along life's path I realized I had to come up with some way I could manage my trust issues and still function - in the world, in relationships, with friends, in any circumstance imaginable.

So, I developed a system that works for me. The bare bones description of it is that I give everyone 1000%  complete and total trust. But the first time it's abused, it's gone. There is no going back. Well, not that I can imagine, anyway. Maybe at some point there will be a situation where that happens.

In the last two or three years there have been some situations where I had a little big of niggling doubt about someone. But, I didn't end the relationship because there was very little risk to me, my heart, my life, etc. if the person proved untrustworthy. So, I let it ride because they had not demonstrated I had a reason to not trust them. It was just a feeling that they were trying to use me.

Now I know my instincts were right. No serious harm was done to me or my life, except that I'm left with the knowledge I was used. And used for something I consider really petty. But, obviously, it wasn't petty for them.

So, I'm letting that go. I don't believe in carrying grudges, but I believe in accepting knowledge. I now know this person can't be trusted. I wish them well on life's journey and thank them for the lesson.

I should trust my instincts. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Every Day

Everyone has a routine. We may not think of it that way, but we do.

Mine changes regularly, it seems. But I realized a few years ago that there are three things I do every single day:

I'm blessed to be a pretty happy person. Interestingly enough, those things are all contributors to happiness. I came to them without that knowledge, but they do have impact. It seems it was instinctual for me. I suppose that makes me doubly blessed.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Healing Power of Home

Home is the place we go to reset our compass, to find our way, to regroup. It may be where we live, or where we used to live, or even the open road. Regardless, there is some place - or if we're lucky, more than one place - that we call home.

Whenever I think of home, I remember the spiritual that says, "Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, come home, come home, come home." Despite the multiple meanings of that metaphor, I love that idea of being called home. I'm just thinking of "home" in a more literal sense.

"People who fail, 
falter, or are wounded, 
come home."
        ---Marilynne Robinson

We all feel the call of home.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toy Depot Story for Hutchinson Magazine

A few weeks ago I went and interviewed Mark Buckley, the owner of the Toy Depot, a new store in Hutchinson. It was for a story in Hutchinson Magazine's upcoming issue.

The store is so incredibly cool, with floor to ceiling shelves filled with "vintage" toys. I put vintage in quotes because everyone's definition of that varies. Suffice it to say that whatever you remember from your childhood, you can find it there.

It was so cool in there I couldn't resist taking some photos and put together this little slide show of some of the photos and a quote from Mark. He loves trains and there's a whole room of them there.

When the magazine is published, I'll add a link to it here. The professional photos from Deborah Walker in the magazine will be much better than my little snapshots. But hopefully this gives you a flavor of it.

It was a very fun story. And the store is well worth a visit.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Spirit Day

A few days ago I participated in Spirit Day. It's a day set aside to encourage people to prevent bullying, particularly of GLBT youth. That's Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Trans-gendered, in case you're not familiar with the terminology.

I know from my days working in the mental health field that GLBT youth have a suicide rate six times that of other kids their age.That's something it seems we should take note of.

Having been the victim of unkind words and deeds in school - what we now call "bullying" - I know the pain of it. And yet, although I'm not proud of it, I have inflicted pain on others at times. It seems we are driven to find a pecking order. Those who are often at the bottom of it grasp at any opportunity to be just one rung up the ladder. I'm sorry to say I've been that person. Pitiful, really, but true.

I never witnessed - or participated - in this particular brand of harassment. However, everyone I know who's gay has felt it at one time or another. I will defer to their experience. I can certainly tell you fat people are scorned - even as adults, much less as kids.

Why anyone would care who someone else is having sex with is beyond me. Unless I'm having sex with you, as long as you're engaged in consensual acts between adults, it isn't any of my business. People seem threatened by these things, which is difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Just because that girl likes other girls, I can still like boys. No one is going to force me to like girls instead of boys. There is no threat.

Spirit Day is one opportunity to be visible in the community - to be a voice - to be a person - saying, "Hey, do better than I did. Please. Please, do better." Lets make a world where no one has to be on the bottom rung of the ladder.

One version of utopia.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happiness and a Support System

All changes, 
even the most longed for, 
have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us 
is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life 
before we can enter another.
                         ~Anatole France

I've always had an attraction to those stories where someone is traveling through a town they've never been in before, sees an old house and buys it on a whim, and builds a new life. Of course, fiction is so much easier to manage than real life. In fiction you never need someone to drop you off at the mechanic's. In real life, we need other human beings to help us.

In fact, having a support system in our daily lives is one essential ingredient of happiness.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Greg's Birthday

Last weekend was Greg's birthday. His mom and I made him a carrot cake, his requested birthday cake. I've been remiss in sharing a photo.

Greg is such a wonderful guy. I'm so thankful to call him my friend.

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Friday, October 21, 2011


I feel a new collection coming on...

I've always loved pretty old hankies. The other day I was at one of my favorite thrift stores and they had a big pile. Cheap. Some of them had to come home with me. HAD to.


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombie Walk

Tonight's Third Thursday art walk including zombies. How can you not love that?

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Old Fashioned Calendar

A few years ago I was never without my day planner. I loved that brown zippered book that held my calendar, notes to myself, and bits of my life that didn't have another home. It went everywhere with me.

Its front pocket held a calculator, its A-Z dividers organized my address book, and its back pages had slots for business cards. People who became central in my life eventually got their card taped down into regular address pages.

And there was the calendar. The calendar where I wrote appointments, birthdays and notes. It became something of an art project. I referred to the pages for years afterwards to determine when something happened. I marked out vacations, appointments, lunches with friends, conferences, and hundreds of other things. 

I joking referred to my beloved day planner as "my second brain." Now it sits on a shelf, untouched for months - maybe years - but still close at hand. My phone has taken over its function and offers a handy option for backing up to "the cloud" to I no longer need to flip through the pages zipped into that brown book.

You know I love technology, and I don't want to do without it, but I confess I do miss the beauty of a well-used and loved calendar page. Tidy typed notes just aren't the same as multi-colored scribbles, complete with doodles. I suppose this is progress.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Halloween in Pierce City Missouri

Driving through Pierce City Missouri this weekend, we spotted this wonderful old building with the black cat eyes staring out at us. It was very striking. We drove around the block to get a photo.

The Halloween season is here!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Conscious Listening

Julian Treasure of the famous TED Talks, is a big proponent of Conscious Listening. He has some interesting things to say in a series of talks. This is just one of them.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

I have always known I have a pen addiction. Recently I've been organizing things. This is just one of the many containers of pens I have. I like colors, as you might be able to tell.

Some might say it's a problem.

I say it's fun.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grateful for the Past

I'm grateful for people who've been part of my life at one point or another. Every relationship, every friendship, teaches us something important. It's how we learn what we want - and what we don't want - in our lives.

So, for those of you who have been part of my life at any point, Thank You.

Maybe you and I together have loved, lusted, or languished in the too-long goodbye. Maybe we've struggled to find a peaceful existence. Maybe we've slipped into an old pattern that wasn't good for either of us, maybe we parted agreeing to disagree. Maybe we were bad for each other in the best possible ways. Whatever the circumstances, I thank you. I remember you. I honor you.

For some people, these things come easily. They marry young and remain happy for a lifetime. Their best friend at 70 was the same one they had at 7. They carry childhood friendships into their adult hearts with ease, deepening instead of disappearing. I applaud that path, but it has not been mine.

For me things have been a bit more slippery in these matters of the heart. The past is ever-present, threatening to overtake the most promising potential. Sometimes in beating it down I lose sight of what is needed from me. For those of you who accepted that, and looked at the demons with me, I thank you. It is not easy for those of us who are accustomed to them to face them, so I can only imagine how awful it is when you are unexpectedly meeting them for the first time.

It is my fault you were blindsided. My apologies. I should have prepared you. I know I should have. I take full responsibility for not doing so. But, if you can, try to understand that I start every day believing there will never again be reason to prepare anyone, because the past will stay there. I'm shocked every time it doesn't turn out that way.

I've always had extraordinary taste in friends, and have been blessed to share my life with some amazing people over the years. But we all come to any relationship with all we've been up to that point. Some of us are tainted with the stain of a past over which we had no control, but with which we must deal. Even though we don't want to ask it of you - indeed, refuse to ask it of you - you must struggle alongside us if you're going to be in a serious relationship with us. You will have to fight the dragon that can never be slayed with us or you will have to walk.

We understand when you have to go. Really, we do. We know it's too much. We get that. We really, really, really do. We wish we could go with you, but that isn't a viable option for us. We will fight another day, to beat the shadows into submission enough that we can function. We are experts at functioning because we have decades of daily practice. We deftly hide what is happening on the inside. We smile. We accomplish. We achieve. We move ahead. We thank the heavens that we can.

But our intimates know the truth. And the truth can be ugly. We close the doors to the outside world and fall apart - sometimes quietly, but rarely gracefully. We never let the demons beat us down without a fight because we know we can't give any ground. It's far too dangerous to show weakness and leave an opening, a crack, for anything more.

But we completely understand that it can be too much to deal with. You have the freedom to move on and not fight. It is the ultimate self-preservation decision to do so, and we cannot fault anyone for making it. It is the logical thing to do. We understand that.

On this side, we just always hope that at some point, someone will love us enough to leave logic behind. That the mythical concept of the heart being so smitten it overrules the head will happen to us. Deep down we know that's only for people with less demanding souls, but we cling to the fantasy nonetheless. It is a comfort to believe that.

We console ourselves that we are destined to have a series of loves who will be with us as long as they can be, and then must move on because we're too much. We know you feel bad about leaving, but that you must. We know. You don't have to explain. We know.

Being too much - too loud, too bold, too intense - beats back the demons. We have to scare them too. It's a balancing act. But, of course, in the night time, when we are vulnerable, they are waiting for the slightest opening and they pounce. Then the one who shares the dark with us is a victim too.

We do our best. We stay awake. We remain conscious. We avoid sleeping. We stay alert. We ward off the thoughts, we keep them at bay. You marvel we don't sleep more. We know we don't dare. Heaven knows what may happen while we are unconscious. But, eventually, we succumb, and sleep overtakes us.

It's then that we wake in the middle of the night, horrified at what has transpired while we were resting on the other side. Or we wake in the morning, grateful nothing happened over night. You're still there. We didn't do or say something in the night that made you run. This night, this day, this afternoon - we won.

So we start over, facing another day, with a brightness others can't understand. We know just how blessed we are to be meeting the sunshine. We greet each day with a grateful heart that we made it through one more night. We are alive. Our loved ones are accounted for. You are with us. It's bliss. Tenuous, maybe, but bliss.

Unfortunately, we always know the day is coming when you will walk. When the "too much" is truly too much, that you can't take it anymore, that you have to be free. Maybe it will be because just as we think we've got things under control something tumbles out of our mouths we didn't expect. It comes from some place within us that's so deep seated we can't even define it. Even we don't know this place. We ruin things when it's the last thing we want. But, it's too late. There's no going back because it's the final death knell.

We mourn. We move on. Not because we want to, but because we have no choice. We have to keep moving.

What we most want is someone who can stand to be with us at our worst moments. But we know sinking into the blue-black darkness with us is asking far too much of another human. So, we thank you for the time we've had together, and say our goodbyes. And we start over.

I am so grateful for the time we had together, whatever that looked like - maybe we were friends, lovers or something that couldn't be easily defined. Regardless, I appreciate the time our souls traveled together. Until we meet again... Thank you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Anatomy of Avoidance

I have been avoiding. For a good 24 hours now. I had a magazine article due and last night I was so eager to avoid finishing it that I moved a rug in my office and swept. Nasty. I hate both of those things. Why? Because they're nasty. But apparently that was preferable to continuing to work on this. 

The irony is that it's a fun story. For some reason I just had a block about it. And, frankly, I could have a block about it. That's just not a luxury you often have when writing for hire.

Today I awoke with the knowledge that this must be finished today. It was the only thing I had today that was critical to get done so I took my sweet time. So today was a meandering day of avoidance, which I thought I would share with you because parts of it are funny. Parts of it are also sad and pathetic. But, as usual, I don't have the common sense to edit that out.

First thing when I got up, before I even got dressed, I worked on the article some. First up was to reread it.

Then I checked Twitter and Facebook and posted this:
I was hoping when I reread my writing this morning it would sparkle. It does not. But it must sparkle - or at least not be deathly dull, which is what it is at the moment. Finding myself fresh out of fairy dust, I suppose I must rewrite. I worked so hard at avoiding it last night that I swept the floor in my office - including moving rugs, which I despise. Play time - if that's what one can call moving grungy rugs - is over. Sigh...

I worked on the article some.
I ate some three day old chips I brought home from Chili's. (Maybe that was four days ago.) I used them as crackers for a piece of provolone cheese. I called this breakfast.

I worked on the article some. 

I made lunch plans for later in the week and thought about how good some Cherry Berry yogurt would be right now. Yes, I know it's still - technically - morning.

I worked on the article some. 
Then I checked Twitter and found this link to a piece about geriatric men making a nude calendar to fund-raise for their church. I love their humor about it.

Then I worked on the article some. 

I talked with a friend on google chat. (It was work related, so get off my case.)

I worked on the article some.

Then I started shopping for eyeglasses online. Living social had a coupon yesterday that made me start looking. You can take a photo of yourself and try different glasses on your fuzzy face. It's Living Social's fault. The coupon was going to expire. I needed to do it quickly. The deal was only good for another 16 hours or so.

I posted this on Twitter: 
I am now shopping for eyeglasses online to avoid #writing. Oh that I could apply this level of creativity to actual writing.

Then I worked on the article some. 

I needed a break so I finished the last few pages of a Jen Lancaster novel. She is a funny girl. Unfortunately, humor was not a skill I needed in this article.

I worked on the article some more. It was going surprisingly well. So, I quit.

Then I posted on Facebook:
Despite my best efforts to avoid, which have included shopping online for eyeglasses and finishing reading a Jen Lancaster novel, the article I'm rewriting is coming together nicely.

I moved another rug into the office under the chair. I measured the space so I can pick up something better suited. I added that to the shopping list I had started earlier in the day.
Then I tried to order a pizza, but the Papa John's online ordering system wasn't working. So, I squirted some honey mustard dressing onto a vintage saucer, and dipped some lunch meat straight out of the plastic container into it. I called this lunch.
I watched The Talk on TV where I learned that one glass of alcohol each day increases your risk of breast cancer by 10%, two glasses by 20%, three glasses by 30%, etc. I had never heard that before. Interesting. - about 14 minutes in if you want to see it for yourself.
I texted a friend about coming by her office to borrow a presser foot for making double welt cord. (Yes, I'm reupholstering a chair too. However, you'll note that was not something I spent any time on today.)
Then I worked on the article some.

I considered showering, but I was WORKING for heaven's sake. I should not stop for the trifling reason of washing my hair and making myself somewhat presentable. This might be the time to mention I did have some errands I had to run today, and showering was going to be a necessity before leaving my home. But I live alone. No reason I can't type in my night clothes.

Then I saw on Facebook that The Big Bang Theory announced Wil Wheaton would be making a return appearance this week. I needed to share that with people. Of course. This is very important information in some circles. 

So I posted a link to their story with this:
Aside from my love of Sheldon, who I do recognize is a fictional character, I have great affection for Wil Wheaton. However, for the record, I care far more for the guy who writes books like "Dancing Barefoot" than the fictional character, Wesley Crusher, he portrayed on Trek. Not that there was anything wrong with Wesley, or Trek. I do love me some good Star Trek. Okay, I must get back to my own writing now... (Isn't it amazing how creative my avoidance is? If only I could apply that energy to my writing.) 

I worked on the article some.
I charged my camera batteries. I looked at more eyeglass frames. I responded to people on Twitter and Facebook. I surfed.
I worked on the article some.
I organized my vintage costume jewelry pins in a glass topped tray.
I posted this on Facebook:
Did you know you have to measure your "Pupillary Distance" to order eyeglasses online? I didn't even know I had a "PD." (That's the cool lingo, just in case you want to work that into your next cocktail party conversation. Does anyone have cocktail parties anymore? Or did that die in 1972 when everyone just started having keggers? "Cocktail party" sounds so much more sophisticated.) Somehow me sticking a ruler near my eyeballs to measure my PD in mm - in fact, in half mm - seems like an idea fraught with potential disaster. I can't even accurately measure the space for a rug. I'm going back to writing before a ruler ends up in my eye.
I called the cable company to make some changes to my account. 
I emailed the editor to let him know the article was getting written and would be to him in the morning. I was afraid he might be concerned given my Facebook posts. Do not frighten your editor. That should be a rule.
I posted this on Twitter:
You have to measure your "Pupillary Distance" to order eyeglasses online. I'm going back to #writing now before a ruler ends up in my eye.
 I worked on the article some.
I tested some ink pens to see if they worked and tossed out duds. I wasn't using pen and paper, but this seemed important to do right that very minute.
I made a new Twitter friend.
I worked on the article.
Then I hopped in the shower so I could pick up the presser foot at the appointed time. (The presser foot was pressing, huh? Yes, I do amuse myself sometimes. Thankfully.)
I dressed and posted the following on Facebook:
I am about to leave the house with wet hair and no makeup except some Burt's Bees "lip shimmer" ... no doubt I will see many of you shortly.

I went and picked up the presser foot and enjoyed a lovely conversation with Autumn. Then I went to the cable company, the bank, a local eyeglass place, and had dinner with a friend. You have to admit that was very efficient. I did all of those errands in about an hour and a half. Then I had a two hour plus dinner and conversation with Greg.

I came home and worked on the article some.

I read responses to my facebook and twitter posts. I have fun friends.

I printed a pupillary distance ruler. It's just like a regular ruler, but it has a cool eyeball on it and the numbers are printed backwards so you can read them in the mirror. You can get your own at

I worked on the article some.

I ordered eyeglasses from zenni optical, which I had never heard of before, but was recommended by a friend on Facebook. It was a spur of the moment thing. I picked some frames that have little stars on them. I love stars. I considered it a sign. I was tired of thinking about it. By the way, my PD is 73, as best I can tell. I suppose I'll find out how accurate that was soon. They were cheap so if it doesn't work out it was worth the experiment. And there were stars. Did I mention the stars?

I worked on the article some. 

I unboxed the things I got at the cable company.

I watched some TV.

I worked on the article some.

I mentally debated the virtue of moving the TV setup to another location. Decided against it.

I printed the article to do some color coded editing.

I surfed. 

I posted the above photo on Twitter and Facebook, saying, "You know when the color coded editing starts that it's serious #writing."

I finished editing and decided I was very pleased with the article. I will read it with fresh eyes in the morning and then it will be on its way.

I felt a sense of relief I could have had hours earlier, but I might not now have a link to print a pupillary distance ruler. All of life is a trade off.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Rachael Ray EveryDay Magazine November 2011 Reducing Subscription Letter

Recently I subscribed to Rachael Ray's "EveryDay" magazine. I just opened the November issue and found a letter included saying they put a bonus section of Thanksgiving recipes in and, "This edition is so big, in fact, that we are treating it as a special issue that will count toward two of your subscriber issues, so the duration of your subscription will be adjusted accordingly." They go on to say they hope I will agree, but if not I can contact them and they will credit my subscription.

I'm a little puzzled why it's incumbent on me to do something to actually get what I've already paid for. That's a very odd way of doing business. I thought it was a big no-no to make customers have to act in some way to prevent being charged for something. Essentially, that's what happening. I thought that was illegal. I'm sure they know otherwise.

I doubt I'll bother to email or call or write. But I also probably won't ever subscribe again. It was an experiment for me. I guess I would consider it a failed one at this point. Of course, few people will call or email and that's what they're counting on.

More than anything, I'm shocked that a national magazine would get itself into a position where they need to make such a move. It seems there would be tons of safeguards in place to prevent it. Or, I wonder if it's just an ingenious way to cut the number of magazines they're committed to. Printing a letter is far cheaper than printing a whole magazine. Regardless, I don't like this business model. At all. Who knows how else they've decided to adjust this subscription or other things I've paid for, and I've missed the notification. I am so not impressed.

Needless to say I tossed out the multiple-year subscription noticed included with the letter. A nice way of saying... "Hey, if you loved having us screw you over this time, sign up for more of it!" Obviously, they need to cut costs, which doesn't bode well for the future of the publication anyway. Ironically, this is the first issue I've taken out of the plastic. So, their first communication with me is that they're reducing my subscription.

I realize this is petty, but I am curious about what happened behind the scenes that led to this letter. I have a feeling there's an interesting story there.  I wonder how Rachael Ray, who's name and photo is on the magazine, feels about it. I'm guessing she had very little to do with the decision making process that ended up at this place.

Putting out a magazine is quite an involved process. It wasn't like they got ready to send it to the printer and realized, "oops... there are forty more pages than we thought." They must have had advertisers pull out or something. I am mighty curious.

Subscribers are not where they make their money, but they sure need the subscriber numbers to pull in advertisers. I guess it's the old catch-22. Seems like in 2011 companies would know honesty is the best policy.

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Turning Points

Throughout life we encounter turning points. It's often just a moment. In a split second our lives shift, they make a detour, a right turn, or take a wrong direction. Sometimes it's hard to see which way that is at the time.

Looking back it's easier to see the path, even though it may meander at times. When you're moving along it, the turn ahead is still unknown. But hindsight gives us perspective.

At that point, we may realize we've taken a few paths that might have best not been traveled. Or, we've missed some opportunities we see the benefit of only in retrospect. Regardless, all we can do is go forward. There is no "rewind" button on life.

We take all we are at this moment and go into the future, hoping to become more ourselves.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Payoff

I have an ongoing discussion with a friend about "the payoff" people get for various actions. We talk about it in relation to everything from people having drama in their lives to over-eating to dating to worrying to a hundred other things.

My contention is that we get some "payoff" for anything we do. It may not be a good one, and it may not make sense to others, but we're getting something or we wouldn't do it. Maybe we overeat because we get a chemical brain rush from doing so. Or maybe we keep ourselves unapproachable and therefore safe. But, whatever the reason, we're getting something out of it - the payoff.

He thinks I'm completely nuts. But, I continue to believe we don't repeatedly do anything we're not getting something out of. It may not be something that makes sense, or is logical, but we're getting something out of it or we wouldn't do it. We're getting some payoff.

My point to all of this is that if we could figure out the payoff we're getting, we could address the behavior. As of yet, this is a much better working theory for me than a reality. But I think the theory is sound, nonetheless.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Day on the Road

My friend, Pam, and I spent the day in the Cottonwood Falls area. The afternoon was devoted to the Tallgrass Prairie - you know I love it there.

Tonight we went to the Emma Chase cafe's Friday night jam session. Tonight started the 13th year. It's the first time either of us had been. It was great fun.

They had an extra large crowd tonight, but it was really cool, out on the brick streets, down the block from the historic court house.

She asked where people were from. Only about seven were from that county, the majority were from other parts of Kansas. There were also people there from Maryland, Massachusetts and Nashville. Someone asked if the woman from Nashville was a talent scout, and she was. That was certainly interesting.

A very cool evening, for sure.


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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Old Fashioned Social Media

Social media like Facebook and Twitter allow us to easily connect with people down the street or around the world. A few days ago I spotted this and realized it was old-fashioned social media. We just had to go to it, instead of it coming to us via computer. The world changes.
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Steve Jobs is Dead

I have never owned an Apple product, but I feel the loss of Steve Jobs. He created Apple in a garage and grew into a multi billion dollar business. The reason he was able to do that is that he was a true visionary.

Vision is something you cannot teach. People come into the world with it or they don't.

I've had the honor of working closely with someone who's vision was daily building something in their sphere of influence. I've had the disappointment of working with someone in a place built on vision, who had none of their own. And I learned from both of them...

Vision is a gift of the universe. It is not a skill learned in a class.

Steve Jobs was a true man of vision. The world is profoundly changed because he was in it.

We should all hope to change the world positively because we passed through it. He did it on a grand scale. Maybe we can all do it in our own small ways.

To be present on the Earth at the same time as someone who impacts it so tremendously is amazing. Steve Jobs was a true visionary.

Vision. A gift.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What You Need is Nearby

There's an old English saying: “Nettle in, dock out. Dock rub nettle out!”

It refers to the stinging nettle and its antidote, the Dock plant. Nature seems to conveniently place them in close proximity so should you have a run in with a stinging nettle, a dock plant will be growing nearby. This is also true of Jewelweed, a natural antidote to poison ivy.

A friend mentioned his quality of stinging nettle and dock some time ago and it has been rattling around in my brain since then. Tonight I ran across this reference to poison ivy. 

It seems nature provides what we need close at hand. Isn't that interesting to think about in terms of whatever you feel you are in need of in your life. Nature would indicate it's close at hand, ripe for the picking, readily available.

As is so often the case, we simply have to look around a bit, locate what we need, and be able to recognize it. That last one may be the most difficult.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Kindnesses Needed

Many people in the periphery of my world are suffering through much sadness these days. There are loved ones just passed over, and loved ones still being missed a year later. People are in need of kindness and I'm not close enough to them to provide it. I desperately want to say to those near and dear to them, "Step up, do what needs to be done, put your own wishes aside." But, I'm not close enough to those people to have an impact, either.

It's amazing how often life seems to come down to relationship and if the one you have with someone is strong enough to make an impact. In these cases I am not close enough to help - either directly to the person hurting, or the people who are closer to them.

So, all I can do is offer what minimal comfort I can, and hope more meaningful kindnesses will come their ways. Sometimes those things arrive in ways we could never imagine in advance.

One of the days I was most intensely missing my mom after her passing it was a stranger at the lunch table next to mine who comforted me. She was not part of my world before or since. But, she was there in that moment, as if ordained.

We never know if we are the teacher or the student. Maybe it was I who needed the lesson to reach out. Maybe it was she who needed the lesson to respond. Maybe it was both. Regardless, I remain thankful for that moment of grace.

All of us have so much potential for incredible kindness. But, we are often stingy with it, as if we have only an allotted amount to last us a lifetime and we want to be sparing so we don't run out of kindness before we run out of days.

I'm confident kindness multiples, in ways we can't fathom, and could never explain. May we all share some with those who cross our paths in the coming days.

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Still Some Flowers

I went on the local photo walk this afternoon and was pleased to see there are still some blooms. I haven't had many this year because I totally and completely ignored the outdoors. Fortunately, the city was more industrious than I was.

This was just one of the many photos I took. I haven't even had a chance to look through them all yet.

I've never done anything with the photography club before, but knew some of the folks who were involved. I'm glad I went. I've realized I can get very, very comfortable just being in my own little world. I need to venture out more often.

Now that Mother Nature doesn't seem to be trying to roast us alive anymore, perhaps I'll do that.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

We're Funny... Or so we like to think...

A few weeks ago in Joplin, Greg, his girlfriend Mia, his mom, and I were out to lunch and Greg and I happened to be sitting next to each other. We were joking around about something and his girlfriend took this photo of us. We were amused by our over-the-top, Up With People, we could be backup singers for the Andy Williams Christmas show, smiling faces.

Frankly, Greg and I might have been more amused than anyone else. Regardless, Greg promptly put it on his mom's computer as a screen saver as soon as we got back.

I offered to take a similar picture of Greg and Mia, but for reasons that remain a mystery she shuddered a bit and, seemingly unconsciously, violently shook her head, before regaining her composure and saying sweetly, "Oh, no, that's okay." I assured her it was no bother at all and I'd be happy to do it. After more involuntary shuddering she held up her hand as if to deflect any further suggestion and said more firmly, "No, really, that's okay." I let it drop. It seemed prudent.

That aside, the important thing to note about this story is that we bumped the cat off as the screen saver. Yes, the cat! We bumped the cat off the screen saver. I'm not sure that has been done in years.

Okay, in reality, I'm not sure his mom knows how to change the screen saver back to the cat, but that's incidental. Had she said to change it back Greg would have. So, Greg and I are feeling pretty proud of ourselves. WE BUMPED THE CAT!

I had forgotten about the photo and haven't been back to Joplin since then. The other night Greg sent me this updated one. His brother, Steve, is there and Steve added his own notes to the screen. Apparently, he is less amused than Greg and I were. I have decided he's grumpy.

Maybe what we really need is a similar picture of Steve and Mia...

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I might be geeky...

You know how every once in awhile, you have a moment of self-awareness? At least I hope that's not just me. Well, I had one tonight while I was reading this article about Relativity and how recent experiments have turned the world of physics upside down.

It occurred to me that it's Friday night and I'm reading about physics. I might be in the minority.

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