Categories
Adventures People

Stonehenge

Researchers recently discovered the source of the largest stones (called sarsens) that make up Stonehenge.

The sarsens originated approximately 15 miles away, from a place called West Woods. The discovery came after an analysis of stone from the inside core of one of the sarsens and a comparison to stone in the surrounding area.

The source of the sarsens has long been a mystery. The origin of the smaller stones was solved a while back, but until now, the origin of the largest stones was unknown.

I visited Stonehenge not too long ago. It’s out in a large empty field, and there’s a bit of a walk to get to it. There are cows in the area, and small rolling hills. Off in the distance, trees. And then, there it is, just sitting there, patiently waiting, as it has for centuries. Waiting for…people? Time? Sunrises and sunsets, clouds and rain and wind? Yes, perhaps all of those things.

Having seen pictures of it, I wasn’t completely unprepared for what to expect. What did surprise me was the size and scale. It’s difficult to get a sense of it from photographs. Standing next to it, you realize what a true effort it had to have been to build it, especially in a time when there were no machines to assist.

I was also struck by the sound. Many people were visiting on the day I was there, there was picture-taking and pointing and amazement, but everyone seemed to speak in hushed tones. There was a lot of silence. There were occasional small gusts of wind, and they sounded whispery and hushed, as well. It was as though we were in a museum, a solemn place, a place of memories.

I’ll be thinking about that visit today. Like many others, I marvel at the fact that people long ago designed and built Stonehenge with little more than their imaginations, their commitment, and their strength.

We human beings can do sometimes do wondrous things. I’m grateful to have experienced one of the most wondrous.

Categories
Good People

Nice

There’s a little girl named Ruby Kate Chitsey who, at the age of 11, started a non-profit organization called Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents. She had the idea after noticing that many of the senior citizens at a local nursing home were unable to afford simple treats such as candy or even basic items such as a pair of pants.

Ruby Kate asked each of the people at the nursing home to make a list of three things they wanted most of all. She then set about raising money and filling the requests.

This simple act grew into a bigger movement, expanding to additional nursing homes, pulling in more people to gather and deliver. So far, the fulfilled wishes have included everything from a can of Vienna sausages to pillows and blankets, and the lists and gifting are ongoing.

Many of the people Ruby Kate assists have little to no family members who can supplement the nursing home care, and receiving a treat is a rare occasion. These kind gestures may not seem like much, but for somebody who has less than $50 per month to spend on anything outside of room, board, and medical care, it can mean a lot.

If you want to learn more about Ruby Kate’s work and how you can help, the link to the website is below:

https://3wishes.global

Right now, many residents of nursing homes are feeling even more isolated and distant than ever. The safety precautions so necessary to keep them healthy during the pandemic also prevent visits with family and friends as well as activities that might normally be part of their days. Loneliness is prevalent; depression, anxiety, and confusion often follow.

So, here’s to Ruby Kate, who began helping people long before COVID-19 and whose help is even more meaningful now. And here’s to all the other nice humans who help to make this world a better place.

Categories
Adventures People

Amelia

It’s Amelia Earhart’s birthday. Let’s celebrate with a quote.

“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?”

Here’s to the journeys that take us beyond our imagination.

Categories
Life People

Counting

I recently read an article about how some children are being discouraged from using their fingers to count when doing math problems.

And I thought, why? What difference does it make if kids count on their fingers, as long as they are learning the essential concepts? It seems a little arbitrary to me.

As a child, I was a finger-counter. It helped me to visualize the process, the action and outcomes. Even today, as a grownup, I occasionally slip back into a finger-counting mode, not because I can’t do simple math but because that’s how my brain works. I see processes and visualize steps in my head. Using my fingers as a means of acting out what my brain is doing is helpful.

And that’s true for many others. In fact, researchers have learned that associating an action (using fingers) with a concept (adding or subtracting) influences parts of our brains that retain and process information.

Simple science.

With all that’s happening these days, finger-counting seems among the least worrisome things to get worked up about. I say, let the children count on their fingers. That goes for grownups, too.

And on really tough days, on days when nothing is going right, when stuff seems to be falling apart or going askew or just not making sense, on days when math seems harder than usual…well, then it should also be okay to use cookies in place of your fingers.

Categories
Life People

Respect

”Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” – Representative John Lewis

Categories
Holidays People

Socks

I’m not a slippers person; I typically wear socks when I’m hanging out at home.

This morning, the pair I grabbed in the dark, as I stumbled from bed, were my Christmas Reindeer Socks. They were a gift from a friend several years ago. They are soft, and warm, and cozy, and they make me smile whenever I wear them.

Some of the smile is because they are whimsical socks, and some of the smile is because I am thinking of my friendship. It’s a good combination. It’s a good way to start the day.

To go along with the Christmas Reindeer Socks, the appropriate cuppa is the Christmas Snowman Cuppa. A little Christmas in July.

Ho-ho-ho and happy Friday.

Categories
Good People

Citizens

Sharing this beautiful story to celebrate today.

Here’s to a safe and happy July 4th.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/drive-thru-ceremonies-for-new-american-citizens-amid-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR3cqm3Kh7XCzBxaLqnOQi5sBeKePX_aHJAfhAx6HxFwZthLQmaG5j3pblQ

Categories
Life People

Closure

I like closure.

It might be because I grew up reading Nancy Drew books.There was always a complete ending to each of the mysteries she solved. The pieces came together; the patterns, decisions, and actions made sense. Most everybody ended up happy, but even in the case of an unhappy ending, there was resolution.

I read a lot of other books, from other genres, as well. Most often, they also ended with the final details tucked neatly into the last few pages, the questions answered and the mischief managed.

Whatever the reason, closure matters to me. I find comfort in the rituals of completing something: signing a document, boxing things up, snapping a final picture. Summarizing the final points. Saying good-bye.

Right now, closure doesn’t come easily. It must be done remotely, by video or phone call or email. Cautiously, safely. In bits and pieces, a little here, a little there. Separately.

Sometimes, it isn’t possible at all.

I don’t like this world of loose ends. It makes me feel off-kilter, not being able to do the things I typically associate with a final chapter. How do I move on, if there are unresolved storylines?

I suppose it’s selfish of me to think this way. My need for closure could be interfering with somebody else’s need for urgency. And, not everybody cares about a perfect ending. Some might even be irritated by that sort of thing.

Maybe, in this age of social media and virtual access, this potential to connect anywhere, anytime, it’s silly of me to place so much value on a last handshake or hug. Perhaps I should just accept, adapt, and move on. Create closure on the concept of closure.

I’ll work on it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to believe in the value of those final touchstone experiences; those rituals that mark the stories of the people and memories that fill our hearts.

Categories
People

True

“Long after you remember the actual work or the targets you met along the way, what’s sustained in your memory is the effect you had on people’s lives.

By this measure above all others, you’ll know the true impact you had as a leader.” — Mark C. Crowley

Categories
Election People

Contributions

Today’s cuppa celebrates the people who do the work that makes elections possible.

Being an Election Clerk or an Election Judge can be fun, such as when you learn that somebody’s a first-time voter, and you cheer for them as they proudly accept their “I voted” sticker. There’s also a thrill that comes from knowing that you’re contributing to history, even on a small scale – a thrill that can cause your heart to beat just a bit faster, even if only for a moment.

Mostly, however, working in an election involves a repetitive process of making sure stuff happens in the right way, at the right time, and gets to the right place in the right format. You must arrive at the polling place early, often before the sun is up, and you’re the last one to leave at the end of the day, which might end up being longer than you anticipated (it’s up to you to ensure that everybody who is in line when the polls close at your location gets to vote, no matter how long it takes). In between the start and the end, you are responsible for the machines, and the papers, and the questions, and everything else it takes to manage the process at your location.

During popular elections, the work can keep you on your toes. During off-years, there might be long stretches of the day when nothing happens, when you’re waiting for somebody to show up and cast their vote. Sadly, slow election days tend to be more common than the ones that keep you busy; nevertheless, they still require coordination and people to make them happen.

If you’d like to contribute to the election process, you may want to find out how to participate in these types of roles. Requirements vary, based on local election rules; you can learn more through your elections office. While there are specific expectations and possibly training involved, it’s typically not difficult be to be part of the action.

The success of free and fair elections depends on the willingness of citizens to contribute to the process. So, here’s to the election workers. Thank you for all you do so that we can make our voices heard.