Real Paper Notes

Here I am at my coffee shop, sipping on a non-fat latte with an extra shot, or moosed, as our local chain likes to call it.

The damn dog woke me up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning. Lucky for him, he raced out to relieve both his bowel and bladder. It’s the mornings he goes out to bark at the birds that I could just as easily cut him loose. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can effortlessly go back to sleep, and so like I said . . . here I am.

There was a time when I used this blog as therapy. I must have worked through several of my issues, because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to. This morning brought back memories of rising early,sneaking off for coffee and writing before Bubba wakes. And so it seemed only natural I should log in and click “Add Post” while the sun slides up in the sky.

A friend sent a note a week ago. Not electronically. She made it with real paper, with a hand-drawn fish on the front. She wrote a few words, not many. “How’s it going?” “What’s new?” but the card said so much more. It made me think about her. She lives on the coast, and fish are ever-present on her mind. Big fish. Like whales. Drawing a fish on a real paper card is so like something she would randomly do, eagerly dropping the envelope into a mailbox on the way to the rocky shore to look for shells, or jellyfish, or whatever the sea rolls in.

I can’t say for sure, but I imagine her finding the little oval cards with their matching envelopes at a humble second-hand shop or old-fashioned drug store. The price was right, and she knew she’d find some way to make someone’s day brighter; the thought of their smile involuntarily igniting one of her own. She has this crooked little grin when there’s something she’s thinking but not saying.

Perhaps she stared out over the waves when she decided what to do with the notecards, or maybe she was pulling weeds in the garden. But I know she spent some time contemplating. I know she thought about each person who would be on the other end while she drew. She undoubtedly laughed at her illustration of a fish swimming through the weeds. And she sent it anyway. Because that’s who she is.

And in this age of email and text messages, what kind of person does this random act of drawing a fish on a plain pink card and sending it in a matching envelope through the mail? It reminded me of how much I miss her unapologetically real and honest soul. If we asked her, she’d laugh and say she is quite unremarkable. And perhaps she’s right. Maybe we want to believe it takes a certain someone to make time for this simple deed. Maybe we’re afraid of learning that if we slow down for just a minute, we, too, hold the potential for honesty, love, following our dreams, and sending real paper notes through the mail.

This little card reminded me just a bit of who I want to be. When was the last time an email did that?

Peace . . .

Check out my friend’s Instagram Account to know her better:

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The Gift of Now

"Seize the day" (Horace, Odes) Franç...
“Seize the day” (Horace, Odes)                                                  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like most parents, I recorded every first of my children’s early years.  There are pictures of first trips to Grandma’s, first steps, first solid food, even taking their first poop in the toilet.  A post by Emily at The Waiting, reminded me how easy it is for the lasts to slip by unnoticed.

Do you remember the last time you were picked up and cuddled?  I have four children, and found myself searching the dark corners of my memory for any recollection of the last time I lifted each of them into my arms.  There is none.

We acknowledge the achievements, the going-forwards, the milestones of where we are headed and not so much where we have been.  Maybe it’s because we don’t appreciate the significance of what we leave behind until it’s gone.  Or maybe it’s because we just never realize it’s the last time . . . until it is.

Firsts, like lasts, are not eloquent or refined.  The last step we take will most likely be much like the first — feeble and clumsy.  Each brings with it a demonstration of progress.  But one is a beginning and one is an end.  One is noted and one is forgotten.

Humans, unlike animals, carry the burden of understanding time.  We romanticize a past we strain to remember.  We grieve its loss.  The future is hope and wonder, even amidst uncertainty and trepidation.

Between the first and the last is the present.  It is the center.  The now.  We forget to stop and live in this moment.  And this one.  And this one.  Each tick of the clock is another gone by.  The present moment is as steadfast as time is fleeting.  Always here, for better or for worse.

A moment in the present is not reliant on memory, nor hope, nor wonder, nor dreams.  There is no uncertainty or vagueness.  The instant you are in right now is as real as anything is ever going to be.

If we could know the last time we were picked up, or rode in a pedal car, or fit in the shopping cart seat, that it was our last, would we have enjoyed it more?  Would we have whined less?  Would we have grieved the loss?

Probably not.  Children don’t perceive the elapsing of time.  A baby lives in a constant state of “now,” his only concern if he is hungry, wet, or sleepy.  Eventually, he will understand time by experiencing it — what is a minute, an hour, a year?

Maybe this is what allows children to move forward at the speed of light.  If they knew all the wonderful things they leave behind — naps, strollers, wagons, wearing pajamas in the middle of the day and yes, being lifted high above someone’s head — maybe they would want to stay children forever.  Maybe the lack of grief is what allows them to grow.

. . . And maybe our grief of the past is a gift we are given that allows us to relish the present.  It permits us to cuddle their round little bodies one more minute, or stop and watch them as they nap, or slip into their world of imagination, or pick them up just once more before they are too heavy and we too weak . . .

Peace . . .

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life

This photo was taken on a bike ride a few miles from my home.  When I saw this fine display of Queen Anne’s Lace, I had to stop and snap some shots.  Another name for it is Wild Carrot, and while edible, I understand it is not very tasty.  It is, however, an ancestor of the sweet roots we eat today.

Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.
Be part of The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post.

 

  . . . and check out who else is loving’ summer . . .

Yosemite National Park . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge- Summer Lovin’ | My Trip This Year

Another gorgeous landscape . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ | hold on

Bliss . . .
Summer Lovin’ | Just Be V

A peaceful summer morning . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ | Last Train to QVille

Summer in Glacier National Park . . .
Glacier National Park – Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin | Travels and Trifles

“to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day” . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ | Ohm Sweet Ohm

The life cycle of a dandelion  . . .
Life as a dandelion puff | Gabriel and Co

It’s a little crochet guy!!! . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ | HKs Huck le Berry

And I complain about mowing MY lawn . . .
Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ | jensinewall

When summer was endless . . .
In The Summertime Weekly Photo Challenge | farmerfarthing

Who . . . Me?

I’m not exactly accustomed to receiving awards . . .
There were a couple bowling trophies from my adolescent years:
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1977-1978
Before the internet we had to bowl for entertainment.
And the Pinewood Derby Adult Division 2000 from the Boy Scouts:
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Laugh if you must, I’m very proud of this one.
The Girl Scout Leader awards:
dscn0755
I miss the cookies . . .
Now, and with no warning, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award:
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I am overwhelmed!  However, as we all know, of those to whom much has been given, much is required.  There are questions to answer, questions to ask, a thank you to write, and nominations to . . . um . . . nominate!  And so with no further ado, I’d like to formally thank Lois from livingsimplyfree for presenting me with this nomination.
Lois asks that I answer eleven questions she has posed to her nominees:
  • Why do you blog?

I blog because I enjoy putting my random thoughts into words and editing them until I like the way they sound when read.

  • If you had more free time, how would you like to fill it?

First of all, I would take a nap, which would give me more energy to do all the things I say I’m too tired to do.  I would read, hike, hang with my kids, cook, fix stuff, play with the dogs, organize my photos, write . . .

  • With the holidays fast approaching, what is your favorite/least favorite holiday and why?

What is not to love about Thanksgiving?  Food, family, and no gift expectations to meet.

  • What is one place you would like to visit?

Hard to say . . . you won’t find it in a travel brochure.  I like off-seasons, nearby sites and the unexpected — maybe even around the next corner!  I won’t know where I want to visit until I’ve been there and seen it.

  • If you could meet anyone, in any time period who would it be?

I would like to meet Galileo and show him our science textbooks.

  • I love a good laugh, it makes even the worst days better.  So what caught you off-guard and made you laugh recently?

At work the other day I accidentally called my cell phone while trying call a co-worker.  I thought, “Who the heck is calling me, now?”  The number looked familiar.  Indeed, it looked like a number from my workplace.  In fact . . . it looked like MY number!  Then just as I looked at my desk phone, I heard in my headset my own cheerful voice, “Hello!  You’ve reached the cell phone of Jean . . . ”  Laughed so damned hard, I snorted!

  • If you had to choose, would you choose more money or more time?

As shallow as this sounds, I would take more money.  I barely have enough money for the time I’ve already been given, so more time would just be more expensive, and lead to more anxiety.  Wishing for more time is romantic, but I’m an incurable realist.  There is no such thing as more time, but more money?  Hand it over!

  • What is your biggest pet peeve?

I can’t stand know-it-alls — this includes the person who knows how I should eat, how everyone should vote, who knows what kind of person you are by the way you look, who knows how to raise your children . . . you know this person, and you can’t stand them either.  Admit it.

  • What is your favorite low cost/no cost activity or hobby?

Being a very visual person, I love photography.  It’s not a serious hobby.  I have a digital camera and don’t do anything terribly creative with it.  Photography slows me down and encourages me to look for things of beauty or interest that I would otherwise walk by.

  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?

My best day begins early after a good night’s sleep, quietly watching the sun illuminate the landscape.

  • Since those of us in the northern hemisphere are moving towards winter, what is your favorite spot inside your home to spend time in?

If actions speak louder than words, it would be my living room where I read, write, watch movies and steal the occasional nap.  BUT if I can get myself in bed early enough, I do take pleasure in the 15 to 30 minutes before I drift off, when the dogs are settled in, I am washed and brushed, the lights are low, with a good book in hand.

Pass it on:

This award also requires that I nominate bloggers who have 200 or less followers.  Of those blogs I follow, only a few actually show the number of followers they have.  I’m not sure who makes these rules, but I’ve seen some Liebsters say they have to list 5, others say 3 to 5, some 11.  I will list my favorites of those who I think have 200 or less followers.  Let’s see how long the list gets:

  1. Richly Bizarre (who has random thoughts like me)
  2. Boomdeeadda (writes about love and life and two black rescue animals — cats, but I won’t hold that against her)
  3. The Rabbit Rabble (did I mention I have opened my home to a rabbit? — that will be a future blog)
  4. Jiggly Bitch (it was the whipped cream/dirty dancing post that made me follow her)

Okay well only four.  And to be fair, I didn’t see how many followers The Rabbit Rabble had, but I took a stab that it is less than 200.  Hopefully being wrong will not cost me the award.

The bloggers above must now answer the eleven questions of my choosing, listed below:

  • How old would you think you are if you didn’t know your age?
  • When you have 30 minutes to kill, what do you do?
  • If you knew it would be personally read and replied to, which celebrity would you choose to write?
  • What is one of your favorite quotes?
  • How do you prepare your favorite vegetable?
  • What do you need that other people might not?
  • Would you rather hunt for paranormal activity with Jason and Grant on Ghost Hunters, fish for River Monsters with Jeremy Wade, or have dinner with Les Stroud on Survivorman?
  • What rule do you like breaking?
  • What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
  • If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  • What do you spy with your little eye?

For those of you who were not nominated, but are still reading, I would love to read your answers to any of the above!