Messy, messy — ideas to finished whatevers

In my high school yearbook there’s a picture of folding chairs scattered on the gym’s varnished wood floor, the way they are after everyone leaves an assembly. Some chairs are still in rows, others twisted as if the person who sat there was turning as they stood up, and others completely out of line. The caption reads: The beginnings and endings of human efforts are messy.

I don’t know if that’s a quote, but I’ve always been struck by how true those words are. Ideas gather like metal fragments drawn to a magnet. The fragments cling as edges and ends connect with the magnet. The filings build up. Eventually, the magnetic connection is too weak to hold them all in place.

No matter what we’re doing, creative or necessary, we start with the image of the finished accomplishment. Painting a room? Building a shed? Writing a note of thanks or sympathy? Planning a party / shower / wedding / funeral. We pull ideas together and pat them into place, dropping the ones that don’t work. And then, we have it — whatever it is,  — the idea is finished, accomplished, not quite what we had in mind at first, but done.

Messy, messy, messy. Compromise and acceptance. The way of life.

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March — ugh

Although the weather jumped from deep winter to early spring a number of times, I’m still really tired of this month. Here’s what I think:

March is too long

I’m longing for April

when daffodils bloom

or, do they come in May?

Whenever it is,

it’s too far away.

 

I’m longing for warmth

and sunshine and grass

and flowers and bugs —

   yes even bugs —

I’m longing for spring.

March is much too long.

Sharon

 

 

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Missing a season

The saying Life is what happens when you’re making other plans (Thomas La Mance), describes my summer. Instead of puttering in my gardens, taking little trips to visit relatives, enjoying quiet dinners on restaurant patios, sitting on a lake shore watching the waves roll in, or strolling through neighborhood rummage sales, I had a summer of doctors and hospitals — even a wild drive as I chased an ambulance so I could find the hospital it was going to. Life definitely happened. And it went on, bringing me to today — the other side of those scary days — full of gratitude and relief.

But, as the oak leaves outside my window turn brown and frost coats the world outside my window, I feel the loss of a summer. When I think of the tragedies the news reported over these last few months, I’m embarrassed by my grief. I have my home, my possessions, and, most importantly, my family and friends. So many aren’t that fortunate. I still pray for the people in stuck in refuge camps because of wars and insurrections, and people who lost everything to fire, hurricane, earthquake, or flooding, as well as relatives and friends facing personal and physical problems. Life happened to them, too, while they were making other plans.

Jerry Brown, former Governor of California, offers good advice, or maybe it’s an attitude to maintain:

Life just is. You have to flow with it. Give yourself to the moment. Let it happen.

So, as I get ready to take on today, I’m saying goodbye to my regrets about last summer. Fall is here — late fall with crystal flakes sparkling in the early morning sun, skies of red and apricot in the evening, and in-between them the brisk chill in the air that makes hot chocolate taste so good, and family holidays on the way. If I don’t do another post before then, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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Real Riches

Does anyone remember Will Rogers?

His laid back mix of dry humor and common sense got folks through the Great Depression of the 1930s. He was a star, gustsy enough to turn his best talent — doing rope tricks with a lariat — into a career.

In his first performances he took his horse on stage and did his rope tricks, but he found that “ropin'” wasn’t enough to keep folk’s attention. He started throwing out comments about life and politics and soon folks came to hear what he had to say. He razzed everyone from common folk to the president and he got away with it because he made people laugh – even the people he was ribbing.  He believed in making friends. If you heard the saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” you’ve heard his words. (Of course, in today’s day and age, he’d have to qualify that statement by changing ‘man’ to ‘person’.)

My little quote calendar brought him to mind today with this gem:

You got to sorta give and take in this old world. We can get mighty rich, but if we haven’t got any friends, we will find we are poorer than anybody.

Ain’t that the truth!

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Humm — an unexpected side

This morning, going through my quote calendar I came upon this statement attributed to Sammy Davis Jr.:

“Savor the moments that are warm and special and giggly.”

Giggly? Sammy Davis Jr.? Suave. Sophisticated. Outgoing. Worldly. All those, yes; but giggly? I never would have guessed.

How easy it is to accept the most often touted / displayed / revealed aspect of a person and forget there are unseen aspects to everyone we think we know. Like one of the paintings where it seems Picasso tried to show all sides of a person at once or Freud’s concept of the Id, the Ego and the Superego interacting, we’re all a mash of attitudes, responses, quirks, and character traits some of which are based on current culture and others shaped by experiences.

So, what does this mean? It means that today and tomorrow and the next day we should look and listen for little surprises when we’re with our friends or spouses or co-workers. We might get a peek into their hidden sides. Who knows — they might be giggly and it might be a moment to savor.

 

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Unfinished/unstarted projects

“That reality of life and living — movement from one place to another either in a project or in a state of mind, does not conform with what we imagine or expect or think we deserve so we often leave things hanging unfinished or unstarted.”

Sandra Edwards could have been talking about me when she wrote that. When I started this blog, I intended to post to it once a month. Have I done it? No. Months ago I decided I really needed to get a website going. Have I done it? No. Sandra’s quote touches on one of the reasons: no matter what I do, I’ll never meet my own expectations.  So the question becomes a question of standards and expectations.

As I understand it, when you’re target shooting with a bow, you have to aim higher than the spot you want the arrow to hit. In most situations people are told to aim high, to do their best work, etc. I want my blog and website to be interesting — to offer something of value to anyone who reads it. Therein lies my problem.  What, after all, do I have to offer others? My life is ordinary. I’m a churchgoing wife, mother, aunt, daughter, niece, cousin, housekeeper, writer, knitter, and a very bad piano player who has with a smidgen of computer literacy. Ordinary! Ordinary! Ordinary!

Can ordinary be enough? Maybe taking things on should be like washing kettles: they have to get done so I do them. I don’t worry if the water is hot enough to kill germs or use bleach to cut soap scum that might be left before the final rinse. I just get busy and wash the darn things and I’m rewarded by not having a stack waiting for me.

Ah, I just get busy and feel rewarded. Those are key words in when working toward a goal. Some people set rewards they’ll earn for reaching a goal. Sometimes that works for me. My best motivator is personal blackmail. I tell someone I’m going to do something, then I have to live up to my word. (Oh dear, I think I just did that and I’ll have be post each month or be embarrassed!)

So, tell me, what works for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aack! It’s January again.

Yes, I was awake for Christmas and conscious for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and I did change my calendar, but the realization that it’s January 2017 is quite a shock. I was so busy getting ready for the holidays that the fact slipped right past me.

Slipped — is probably the operative word here. At least in Wisconsin. Probably not as operative as in the states west of us where semi trucks routinely slide off roads in winter. We haven’t slid off our driveway, but it is a sheet of ice. Lumpy ice, but still slippery. And the air swirling above it is cold. So when I had a chance to fly to Florida for the weekend, I took it. To quote Governor Jerry Brown:

Life just is. You have to flow with it. Give yourself to the moment. Let it happen.

Or, to paraphrase Sidney, the psychologist on MASH: ‘Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.’ I always liked that statement. It’s much more arresting than ‘enjoy what you can’ and ‘if life gives you lemons make lemonade.’

I loved being in Florida. It seemed incredible that within a three hour plane ride I could be under a palm tree beside a rippling pool, hiding from the sun. Florida is a magic kingdom. I can understand why Walt Disney anchored his dreams there. I’m awfully glad I went. Now when I look out my window at the frozen world I visualize palm trees and rippling water beyond the curve of the horizon. Try it. Maybe you’ll see them, too.

 

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