Categories
Fun Good People

Wordle

Yes, I play Wordle.

No, I don’t post my results.

No, I don’t mind if other people post their results.

Yes, I enjoy being part of this collective social experience.

Here’s to Wordle and all the other games that stretch our brains and bring us together, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day.

Categories
Good Life People

Reset

In general, I find it easy to focus on the good stuff, the warm, fluffy, happy notes in life. I started this blog as a means of doing so and sharing those moments with others.

I also believe in the value of honest observations. Life isn’t always smiley faces and puppy dogs. Sometimes, life contains disturbing and discouraging news, front and center, ominous and unsettling. In those moments, finding the good and keeping it in focus requires a conscious effort.

Not long ago, I learned of an organization called Alice’s Kids. They have a simple goal: making things better for kids, with the perspective that a little help goes a long way. They provide targeted donations through their partnership with teachers and social workers who make requests on behalf of the children they know. For example, a teacher might be aware that a child wants to join the school band, but the family can’t pay for the required uniform shoes. Alice’s Kids provides the teacher with the means to purchase the shoes, staying in the background and allowing the teacher to take care of the details so that the experience is personalized to the child.

The Alice’s Kids story starts with a woman, Alice Reilly Fitzsimmons, who always did her best to manage through difficult circumstances in her life. Sometimes, she’d scrape a few extra dollars together to buy her children something new, clothing or other items they couldn’t normally afford, thrilled to be able to create a special moment for her family. As she got older, she continued to do what she could for the people around her, small gifts of love and care. Her adult children’s memories of their childhood and their love and respect for their mother’s generous spirit inspired them to create Alice’s Kids.

In 2020, Alice’s Kids spent $265,440 to help 6005 children. This year, thanks to donors and increased awareness of Alice’s Kids mission, they’ve almost doubled their impact. If you’d like to know more about Alice’s story and how you can contribute to the work they do, please visit their website: https://aliceskids.org.

It’s unwise to live in denial, to pretend that troubling and sinister elements don’t exist in this world. We can’t allow ourselves to ignore reality. Organizations like Alice’s Kids, however, remind me that the good exists, always. That is what is most deserving of our time, our energy, and our rewards.

Here’s to the reset, the shift in focus from the painful to the positive, that helps us move forward.

Categories
Life People

Lobster

The National Today calendar tells me today is National Lobster Day. This reminds me of a video I saw recently about a lobster fisherwoman, Virginia Oliver.

Ms. Oliver lives in Maine. Along with her son, she fishes for lobsters three days a week from May through November. She first began fishing for lobster when she was a child, with her father.

It’s a nice family story, a tale of generations and traditions, the type of story that’s easy to enjoy. There’s more to it, however.

Ms. Oliver is 101 years old. Her son who fishes with her is 78.

If you ask her, Ms. Oliver makes it clear that she does what she does because she wants to, because it’s what makes her happy. Her response to the idea that she should stop? Laughter. Lobster fishing is hard work, sometimes dangerous, but she can’t imagine her life without it.

So yes, the story is about family and generations and traditions. It’s also about tenacity and perspective, with a little bit of good humor thrown in. It’s about not letting age define you, of paying less attention to the number of days behind or in front of you and more attention to the one you’re experiencing right now.

Living that way isn’t always easy and isn’t necessarily the right course of action in every situation. Still, it’s hard to argue with success.

Here’s to Ms. Oliver and her approach to life. May she have many more trips on the boat, out on the water, with her son by her side.


Categories
Life People

Photograph

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like if I had no photographs. No family pictures, no holiday photos, no moments in time captured forever in a two-second snap.

It wasn’t so long ago that photographs were a rarity. I have a few photos of my great-grandparents; one that is formal and posed, a scene from their wedding day, and a handful of others reflecting daily life with the family. I also have two or three of my great-great grandparents, but none from earlier generations. All together, the photos I have fit into one thin envelope and represent a tiny fraction of the days that my ancestors spent on this earth.

In contrast, my life and my children’s lives are captured in countless pictures. Halloween costumes, first days of school, family pets – chances are, there’s a photo somewhere. Even the ordinary moments -the ones around the breakfast table, or in a car, or on a sidewalk – none of them obviously noteworthy but still, at that time, calling to be captured, are available to me.

I’m glad to have these records. There are some that I truly treasure. I like the visual reminders of happy times and everyday life. I appreciate being able to see the people I love, at all the stages and days, especially those people who are no longer here.

I remind myself, however, that the lack of a photograph doesn’t mean the moments and the people didn’t exist. That, in fact, generations of people have lived full, complete, purposeful lives without photographic evidence of their days. I must be careful not to equate the ease of taking a picture, of grabbing an experience and making it repeatable anytime I want to see it again, with the value of what is contained in the photograph.

The moments that make up our lives – the laughter and tears, celebrations and failures, love and connections – are what is real. It doesn’t matter whether any of them are captured forever in a two-second snap.

Here’s to memories and the people within them. They are all meaningful, even when the proof is only in our hearts.

Categories
Animals Good People

Butterball

Yesterday, I saw a news story about a woman, Sunflower Ladd, who took care of an abandoned baby squirrel after a storm. She fed it, and cuddled it, and kept it safe and warm. She named it Butterball.

Eventually, Butterball grew up, and Sunflower released it back into the wild. She figured she wouldn’t see much of Butterball ever again; after all, being a squirrel, Butterball had the life of a squirrel to live.

However, Butterball stuck around. The squirrel life is happening, but Butterball routinely comes back to visit Sunflower. Butterball and Sunflower remained friends, and that friendship continues today.

In the news story, Sunflower says, “Anything that you care for, you will develop a love for.” She also notes that, if that type of bond can exist between a human and a squirrel, creatures with worlds of differences between them, it can also exist between people…if we choose to make it happen.

Here’s to Sunflower and Butterball, their sweet (but improbable) friendship, and their simple lesson of love.

https://www.wfaa.com/article/features/the-squirrel-that-keeps-coming-back-unexpected-friendship-brings-hope-for-dallas-woman/287-b320d672-ae04-4976-943c-514c273e4600

Categories
Good People

Thanks

I like what Carl Jung had to say about teachers:

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

Here’s to my favorite teachers, Ms. C and the other Ms. C, Ms. Z, Mr. S, and A, M, and J. Thank you for giving me the tools to succeed and the inspiration to want to do so.

And here’s to all the others out there who teach and train and coach and mentor, who share knowledge along with kindness and hope and determination, grace and humor and imagination. Thank you for believing in us and, in so doing, helping us to believe in ourselves.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

Categories
Good People

Dance

Not long ago, I discovered Gurdeep Pandher and his merry dance videos. Mr. Pandher dances Bhangra, a traditional folk dance that originated in Punjab, India.

The videos are filmed in the Yukon, where Mr. Pandher lives. He dances outside, among the snow and wildlife and trees, highlighting the beauty of the area.

It’s impossible not to smile when watching the videos, not to want to join in and dance with him. They are full of hopeful energy, happy light and a cheerful spirit.

Each dance video includes a message of joy and positivity, dedicated to specific people, moments, or events. It’s his way of making a difference in the world, a heartfelt gift of delight and optimism.

Here’s to Gurdeep Pandher and the way he enthusiastically celebrates life. Sometimes, things are difficult. Not every day is a good one. But, he reminds me that there is almost always a reason to dance.

Categories
Adventures Neato People

Stars

There’s no official birth certificate, but tradition has it that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564.

It is certain that, today, April 23, 2021, in the wee hours of the morning, a SpaceX Falcon rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Four astronauts were onboard. They’ll spend the next six months working and living in the International Space Station.

Today’s launch represents the continued advancement of the partnership between NASA and privately-owned space flight companies. Among the achievements realized through this work is the development of a reusable rocket.

The rocket used in today’s launch is designed to return to Earth and land on a platform that is floating in the ocean. There won’t be a splashdown or broken bits and pieces falling into the sea. Instead, the intact rocket will gracefully touch down and will eventually be used once again on future launches.

Understandably, Shakespeare didn’t write about space flight. But he did write about doing things we think we cannot do, about imaginary worlds and seemingly impossible dreams. So perhaps there’s a little symmetry between his birthday and today’s space launch. A bit of a cosmic connection.

Men at some time are masters of their fates;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

Categories
Good Nature People

Treasure

Yesterday, I came across a story about a woman, Flora Blathwayt, who collects bits of plastic trash from the banks of the River Thames and various beaches in England. She cleans the trash thoroughly and then adds it in creative ways to greeting cards that she’s designed. On the back of each card she creates, she lists the location where the plastic was found.

Ms. Blathwayt’s hobby has turned into a business, Washed Up Cards. Her business has sustained her, emotionally and financially, during a furlough from her job.

She’s not just using her skills and imagination to make money, however. She’s also bringing awareness to the issue of plastic waste in rivers and oceans. She’s supporting the sustainability movement and it, in turn, is supporting her.

To learn more about Washed Up Cards, you can visit her Etsy site at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/washedupcards/ .

Here’s to those, like Flora Blathwayt, who use their creative talents to turn trash into treasure. They help to make the world a better place, one small bit at a time.

Categories
Life People

Tools

It’s Anne Lamott’s birthday.

I don’t always agree with everything she’s written or said. More often than not, however, I find myself nodding in affirmation, feeling connected to her words.

Like this, for example:

“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”

Happy birthday to a woman who’s brave enough to embrace her humanness and forgive imperfections, even as she strives to do better. Her generous words are in my toolbox, helping me on this ongoing journey of doing the best I can.