Little Thoughts


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When thoughts start to clutter my mind now, especially ones that take me away from the present, this is my new mantra:

I am here now; I am alive; I am healthy; I am grateful.

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“Extended bliss is boredom of the existential kind.” from the book NutShell  By Ian McEwan.

Just Right


“In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you are supposed to be. ” — Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

How long do we wait for the right place and the right conditions? It may seem to some of us that we take a long time to stretch out; that we spend much of our lives contorted and bursting apart just to come together again. I have.

The right conditions seem to involve some sort of special magic; a particular brew that mixes together to concoct the spell where the microcosm in which we move feels easy and the skin that we wear no longer needs tailoring.

Some folks that we meet seem to have been born with this magic as they whirl around with the twinkling Universe hovering nearby. But most of us aren’t so lucky. Some of us seek it, but I see now this maybe isn’t how it works. It may be more like how a seed turns into a tree. It’s just dumb luck. It just waits encased in its shell until all the conditions are perfect and then bursts forth into the world.

But most don’t get this far.

Maybe I’ve just tried too hard to make everything happen. Can I be more like that seed? Just quietly sitting on the forest floor gathering the magic conditions to crack me open. Will I be one of the lucky ones?

And once I am that wonderful entity, crawling with life and fluttering with each breath of wind, my roots firmly reaching in all directions: then I will know I am who I am supposed to be.

You Can Teach Old Dogs…


So a while ago, when I was sitting at home, in the thick of my contemplating about my life and future–I had a harebrained idea: I would take a course. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but what I did know, even though it was kind of intimidating, was that I would attempt to do it online.

This may not seem like a very big deal to many of you out there in computer-land, but to me, the gal who is a ‘hands on’ learner, it felt very strange. But on the other hand, I also knew that I was in no position to go schlepping off to some place for a class, nor did I want to pay a huge amount of money for some program that maybe I wouldn’t like after a few weeks. And I knew that nowadays there are so many courses offered online. How hard could it be?

So I started to search, and sure enough, our local community college had some very short and very inexpensive courses that seemed quite reasonable to explore. Hey, I had nothing to lose since my time was wide open, so I decided to sign up for the Veterinary Assistant class–actually a set of three of them (maybe I was a bit ambitious) which started today. In the long run I guess I hoped it might land me a job.

My job is to look beautiful

I literally had no idea what to expect when I logged into ‘my classroom’ today. But there were my lessons, a syllabus, some quizzes, some assignments (optional), a forum area to talk with the Professor (a Vet from Canada) and other students, plus other relevant stuff.

It was all fairly straight forward. Of course I couldn’t get my printer to work when I tried to print the lessons (I finally did after 2 hours), something suggested by the teacher and a good idea for studying for the Final to have for later on. Once the class closes, one doesn’t have access to the information again, so I will create a notebook for reference.

This kind of learning is actually perfect for someone older (like me) or busy…go at your own pace. And it’s basically open book for exams–who wouldn’t love that? I’ve always felt that in real life one gets to look up what we don’t know, so why memorize everything? It’s great.

I have a memory like a steel trap

Will I get a job out of it? Well, the funny part is that after I had already signed up for it, I got a call for a job interview for a job that I applied for about a month ago. I’d given up thinking about it actually, but it so happens it’s at the very college where I’m taking this online course! Imagine that. The interview went as well as expected, but I am still waiting to hear. Who knows?

But I will take this course anyway as it is designed with pet owners in mind also. Plus it’s fun and always good to stretch one’s mind. Maybe I will even use the information to volunteer…

And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks….??

No tricks for me Mommy

Shadow Self


Since it is my preference lately to hang mostly among the shadows, I find the comfort of home is where I can be found. In the quiet, familiar backdrop, my everyday life scrolls forward in an orderly fashion. This too protects me and surrounds me like a warm blanket on a wintery day. It’s safe and holds me in its embrace–my four walls are my fortress keeping my truth free and the mystery of others at bay.

Going out can sometimes be a challenge these days, especially if it’s somewhere new. Uncharted territory on clogged and hostile roadways send my tentative energy levels to a heightened state. Honking horns if I am too slow, lost in the jungle, rattle my senses and the animal part of me takes flight. It’s disturbing, enough where I avoid putting myself in these types of situations as much as possible. 

My guide is technically based, thank goodness, or I would be completely lost and most likely never leave my apartment. I am a person who navigates by landmarks and memory, repetitive action. Once I am familiar, the anxiety goes away. Most likely it’s the OCD part of me that makes me like this–I need to know everything in advance in order to be comfortable. And because I’m simply not grooving with the outside world in general these days, it makes all this quite challenging. 

So, today, the trip to my city library  (after parking on the wrong block at first), proved to be fruitful on many levels. I love to read. And I’m reading lots while I’m unemployed, but buying books just isn’t feasible. I bought a kindle, which I mentioned on my blog. And I discovered my library has Ebooks! After figuring out where the place was, parking in the wrong spot and getting honked at in the parking lot–I am now connected after getting a library card! 

While I do miss holding a book, the trip to and from the library would be too much for me at this point of my weary journey. Maybe instead I can save the trips for some of the events they have there. 

And hopefully someday, when my spirit is stronger, I will venture forth again through the stacks…

Ooo Fire!


My new toy.  Because I was spending too much time watching Prime videos and not enough time reading, it was time to rectify the situation. In fact, I love to read! But returning books to the library or buying them all the time wasn’t feasible. This was the perfect solution. 

Soon I will be fully unemployed again  (sigh) with too much time on my hands. So in between looking for jobs and my usual routine, I can squeeze in some reading. I’ve already knocked off three books.

And I will go get a library card and check out their electronic loaning system. Apparently I can download them to my Fire?! Perfect. 

So, if I am digital, at least I’m not simply wasting my time for hours just watching movies. I’m also trying to volunteer at a nature preserve….

Hopefully my brain won’t just frizzle up into a ball of mush while I’m home.

Permanence


When were kids we expected the world to fall at our feet and for everything to go our way. We didn’t know that were supposed to work at some things to make them happen, or for them to be right because we were the center of the Universe and everything else revolved around us and our needs.

Ahhh, if only it could still be like that……

But, alas, this is not so when we grow to be adults. Unfortunately we learn, sometimes the hard way, that we must work (often with much effort) to make our lives come out the way we hope. The plans may be laid thoughtfully either in our minds, or even very carefully in real-time, and still end being tripped up when they come to fruition.

This may be due to any number of factors: our ‘dream’ may not be what we had quite imagined it to be or maybe some monkey wrench gets thrown in to burst our bubble after our tidy plans were hatched. Either way we can be hit we a huge wave of disappointment, which may turn into sadness, depression or even anger–anything but the joy, happiness and excitement we had been dreaming about.


For me I had experienced something like this with my move from the North where I had been for so many years to the South where I am now. It was a huge decision and took a long time to decide to do. There were many factors that made me chose to come, some pushing me from the northern end, and others pulling me from the south. So when the move finally came: I felt more than ready!

But after I had been here for some months and found myself away from my friends, my home, leaving a career I had for many years, in unfamiliar surroundings–suddenly I found myself second guessing myself. I was scared, down and leaning on my Mom a lot.

I’m not sure what the turning point was for me –when I realized that the world, this place  I was now living in, was not going to come to me. I did know that one reason I came was because I didn’t want to be miserable anymore! It was for change, not more of the same.

So, when I heard on NPR about a book called: “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live” by Melody Warnick and the interview with the author, it gave me a whole new perspective on my dilemma. I have not nearly completed it, but it made me realize that I’ve barely given this place a chance, and that I personally have done nothing to make this place home.


While I’ve been grumbling and seeing all the negative, life has been passing me by here. All the good reasons I came have still been here and I’ve ignored them and focused only on the negative. When I changed my mindset at work and decided to love it there, things got so much better. It seemed time to do that with living here too.

In discussing this with my Mother, who has been my constant companion and confidant here, we decided that buying a condo, rather than renting–could possibly be a better option. Prices are high for rentals and many are such bad options. For me, I know that it’s all about mindset more than anything. Feeling more permanent here and a part of the community is what I may need, rather than feeling like a drifter. So I’m at least looking at a few places. Who knows if it’s possible, but it gives me hope anyway.And hope is a powerful tool.

The bottom line is that a main reason I came was to be closer to my Mom and I am very lucky to be near her. She has been steady when I’ve been unsteady. It’s been hard to express how strange it’s all felt at times, but she’s done her best to understand. She’s my rock and I’m so grateful to have her close after so many years.


So maybe I’m not a kid anymore and can’t have the world falling at my feet, but I try my hardest to make my world positive. And as long as I’m here and have my Mom around, I’ll still be her kid and she does the best she can to make my world the best it can be.

The Next Decade


As I boldly step into this sixtieth decade, where this woman has never gone before, I sense it will be an interesting one. I already know that I will be experiencing things that have never happened to me before, and portray roles unknown to me. This is both scary and exhilarating at the same time!

Ten years, while it may seem like a long time, can quickly speed by. The last ten certainly did and brought with them so many ups and downs. While I can’t ignore the past decade and its emotional pitfalls spattered with the not as memorable good snapshots, I’ve decided to do the sensible (and recommended) thing and live in the now.

So that even means not looking too far down the road of the next decade, although there are enjoyable moments where I can’t help it. Hey, my kids are all off doing their own things now, I’m single by choice, my health is good and I have a great imagination! Why not, then, occasionally dream about what may be in my future? All the fun places I might chose to live, or a new career choice, people I may meet, my future creations…the possibilities are as big as my mind.

But we don’t get there except by living day by day. And I plan to make each one of those days as satisfying as I can. My plan is to stay healthy and positive, remain open to new ideas and keep learning/reading/researching. With all these things, maybe the next decade will be decent. I’m not reaching for the moon, just a good walk on this troubled earth.

Most of all, I want to remember to be in the now, breathe and stay in constant touch with the world around me. Hopefully this may help to slow the next 10 years a tiny bit.

Two Different Too


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Two different. These books are as different as they could possibly be and were given to me at work today (one on loan and one as a gift) by two different people too. My co-workers are as different as the books are: one man, one woman, one sort of nervous and hyper; the other quiet and poised. But both very nice and friendly and I took an instant liking to each.

The man who loaned me the Stephen King book, is a movie buff. We chatted about a movie recently that King created, so that prompted him to bring this book in for me because he thought I would enjoy it.

With the other book, my woman co-worker and I eat every day quietly in the lockers away from everyone else. She figured I would appreciate the daily meditations in the book she gave me. It’s gently loved as she’s used it for many years, but got a new one from her son, so passed in on to me, making it very special.

These gifts made my day. I love to read and it meant that some folks are reaching out, that they thought of me beyond work. It was very cool. It’s been almost six months there and a very difficult place: clicky and weird. Gosh, I don’t fit in on a good day most places, but this place: forget about it.So this was monumental.

Maybe there’s hope yet, even if you’re different.

Mockingbird


There are tons of Mockingbirds where I live now. I hear them and see them every day and this has made me wonder about them and their possible significance in my life. When I walk the dog at 4 am, I hear one in the same tree serenading me. I’ve read that it is a rare bird that will sing in moonlight. How lovely!

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Fly me to the moon…..

It reminds me of a poem I wrote many, many years ago, when I was just 21 and about to get married for the first time. It started:

The first bird of the morning called to me

And I answered…

That’s all I recall of the poem, but I was writing about a Mockingbird. The marriage ended, but my memory of the Mockingbird song has not.

Peterson’s Field guide says of the Mockingbird song: “…a varied, prolonged succession of notes and phrases, each repeated a half-dozen times or more before changing. Many Mockingbirds are excellent mimics of other species.”

One wonders what nature was thinking to have this species mock other birds? Mocking in humans is often considered cruel and is discouraged. To mock another is in a way to make fun of their song or their voice. But somehow the Mockingbird never appears anything but lovely and bold in her sweet aria.

They say: imitation is also the highest form of flattery. So then, maybe this bird is merely trying her best to blend in to the chorale around her? I’ve always been very outspoken and said my own thing and usually disagree with the current crowd. My refrain is rarely in sync with others and this has caused me much heartache.

In the book “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews, he says of Mockingbirds: “Whenever the Mockingbird arrives, look for opportunities to sing forth your own song. Follow your own path.” Maybe by knitting the ideas and voices of many, I’ve tried to speak out boldly like a Mockingbird in my own way.

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We are family!!

I know it is a protective bird, flying at me if I get too close to its nest. And they are fearless and will live near humans–that’s why I see them everywhere here! They seem to love to perch up high and belt their anthems, always with a sharp eye on the observer.

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I’ll be watching you….

What does this mocking, mimicking, bold and fearless bird mean to my life? I am trying to learn my song, but also blend the chorus of others into a melody so that my song becomes richer and more beautiful. I have absorbed from others their songs and listened to their wisdom and woven it into my own verse.

And I am finally learning to stand up on the highest point and sing out loudly without fear of what others might think of me. To be bold and fearless like the Mockingbird and to protect those people and ideals I hold dear.