purple chair

SUMMER HAS A WAY    


It’s been my understanding that summer has a way of taking over my life. Whether I am busy hiking, walking, working, making new friends, visiting neighbors, working on my lawn, reading, writing, riding my bike or just watching the clouds go by – I find that sometimes I lift my head and days have flown by. It’s past the middle of July and I’ve yet to catch my breath!

amazing weather for flowersThe weather has been most wonderful – lots of afternoon rain and therefore humidity in the air which feels refreshing, not stifling and heavy.  Last night, rain woke me up two different times and then this morning the air was damp, chilly and inviting. As a kid, I remember going to the local beach and getting there first thing in the morning – in time to make bacon and eggs over the grill. That damp, wet feeling mixed with the smell of food over an open fire was  in the front of my memories when I stepped into my backyard today.

I’ve read a bunch of books and have hardly watched any television. There’s just no time. And as you can attest, I’ve had little ‘sit in the chair time’ when I normally blog.

red flower1I did most of my traveling in May and June which allows me to enjoy the summer like never before. Summer has a way of forcing me to get on trails and hike, to take photos, to care for my garden, to get my priorities in order.

And, did I mention the shades of green? Dark evergreen, bright green aspen leaves, deep green lilac leaves, healthy green lawn. For now – Green is my favorite color!

I’m enjoying summer this year more than ever before. It took me awhile to accept that spring was over and summer was indeed here and now I am loving it. I am requesting more rain, afternoon clouds, just a bit of heat (here and there), lots of sunshine (duh, it is COLORADO!) and the piece of mind to enjoy it all. (My spell checker wants me to write ‘peace of mind’ and maybe I should!)

Until the next time – Enjoy!

 

A Sense of Optimism About Humanity


GenerativityThe local newspaper is delivered to me 4x each week. When I get it, I read it all. That includes the obituaries. The thing is, I am new to this town so it’s not like back home where every other day someone I know or am related to is dying or dead (or being born or getting married…)

So, this obituary was two columns wide and really long. Lots of words.  A photo of a very pretty lady. The words were very poetic and magical. I think they were her words. She talked about the family grocery, then a paragraph was devoted to her ‘beloved’ father, her steps that took her to the nunnery until that didn’t feel right anymore. Then her quest next led to graduate school… The next quarter of a century she conducted basic research in neuroscience and eventually retired as Professor Emerita. She started her own business, spoke, wrote, published books and so much more.

I did not know this woman but I wish I had.  She lived a colorful life and in the end requested the following: In lieu of flowers, and in recognition of the generativity which coursed through her life, the family requests that those wishing to honor her pay kindness forward to three other individuals.

Why I read this, why it touched a cord, why I kept it, the article, why I had to write about it? Even in death, this woman is giving to others by asking us to reach out and pay something forward as a gift to her.  If only a handful of her family or “groundswell of devoted friends” as the obituary read reached out and paid a kindness forward then her essence lives on. And if each person paid it forward THREE times then the world would be a bit easier for someone, for no real reason.

She’s gone, right? And yet she created a web of web of giving. That she can do that in her death makes me wonder what crusades and undertakings she accomplished prior to departing.

I know we all have our own stories and nobody really knows the story of the person next to them – but if there were some way to know more – count me in.

So, what is it I don’t know about you? What is the event, illness, struggle, joy, friendship or woe that got you to this very place in time? For many, it was the turning point in our lives. For others it might be a goal that was reached and lessons learned along the way. This beautiful, wonderful woman had TONS of stories –  and this is just one more. 

generativity (google dictionary) In Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development, generativity is a struggle against stagnation that ascends during adulthood.
in the psychosocial sense refers to the concern for establishing and guiding the next generation and is said to stem from a sense of optimism about humanity.

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People will never forget how you made them feel


IN May, I hit the ground running and finally in early June I finished with my travels. Home in time to mow, weed and get prepared for summer. Home in time to breathe in the last of the lilac blooms, smell the wild roses and plant tomatoes.

On one of my trips I had the opportunity to sit in a first grade classroom in Carson City, NV during thpeople will never forgete last week of school.

On this very special day, the teacher awarded certificates to his students to highlight their unique qualities.  There was thoughtfulness and caring put into the awards. Some parents were present to watch and enjoy the ceremony. Some awards were over the heads of most of the students but they were told to go home and research the award if they wanted to learn more.

One girl received the Susan B Anthony award. Susan B. Anthony was very famous woman because she help free slaves and she help women get more power , she was told … “and you are like her because you are always helping and reaching out to be friends to others in this class.”

Thomas Edison award was handed out to a young boy who “hears instructions then does things his own way.” Another student received the Neil Degrasse Tyson award because she ‘asked questions that stumped the teacher’ and gave an insight into her thought process and intelligence. She was urged to research the award and learn more on her own.

A young girl, dressed with a huge pink flower in her hair and contemporary glasses was giving the Broadway Star award. “Broadway is a street in NYC where there are famous plays and theater. It seems to me that you like to be the center of attention, isn’t that right?” With a nod and a smile, her answer was a clear yes.

With each award, there was a lesson about famous people, what qualities the first grader had in common with that person and the uniqueness of the student. This teacher took some attributes that others would scorn and applauded them. The Presidential Award was handed to a student because of her leadership qualities. Some might say she was bossy in the classroom and yet, this ceremony focused on her best qualities and praised them. Another student received the Isaac Newton award because he was able to look at things and question instructions which helped everyone around him.

The Maya Angelou award was given to a student because of her writing style and her kindness. The Student of the Year award was handed to a student who joined the classroom later and still was able to join in and catch up. The John Grisham award, the Martin Luther King Jr award and on and on…

One student was told, “you are so smart” and then the teacher addressed the entire group of twenty and said – “You are all very smart students, you know that, don’t you?” then he turned back to the student in front of him and said, “you seem to understand what I am saying right away and can figure it out pretty quickly.” The piece of paper addressed their intelligence, kindness, curiosity, awareness, friendship, leadership, personality, wit and other personal attributes unique to each of them.

For one brief moment in time the spotlight was shining on them individually. It was the most precious thing I’ve ever seen and I am sure most students will hold on to the way they felt at that moment in time for decades to come.

I must tell you, this teacher is my son. I listened and sat in awe during this ceremony. I felt proud and happy for these kids who were each given a precious gift. I commented afterwards that “nobody ever told me I was smart” and this comment as shared like this …”Class, my mom just told me that nobody ever told her she was smart when she was in the first grade. But she’s one of the smartest people I know, just like you.”

It was an amazing experience in so many ways. i was honored to be there. And so very proud.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

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snow on lilacs in Colorado may 11, 2014

Snow or sun: Happy Mother’s Day!


Snow on Mothers Day in Fort Collins - 5/10/14 snowy peony snowy purpleI had every intention of ‘sleeping in’ on Mother’s Day. Sleeping in means 7:30 a.m. or so. However, at 6:15 when I lifted my head from my pillow I saw one thing – the branches of my tree bent over. No dallying for me… I flew out of bed and into warm winter clothes. It was snowing – the wet heavy snow that is often the case in April and May snow in Colorado. The weight of the snow lands on the branches that are just budding out they break and are ruined forever…

So, after knocking snow off trees, bushes, flowers and tables – I walked around the neighborhood. When I finished my exploration, I was soaked! My heavy winter coat and ski gloves were no match for this weather.

A hot cup of tea, Sunday Morning CBS, the Sunday paper and soon it will be time to make my rounds again and free the branches and trees of the snow that continues to fall.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my sisters, cousins, friends, nieces, neighbors, fellow bloggers and to all those wonderful men who step in and fill the mother role when needed. And a special hello to my long departed Mom (aka Ma).

Blessings!

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hail in may2014

Hail to Spring!


I finally took the snow tires off my car yesterday because I was certain we were finished with winter weather. And then, the most aggressive hail storm hit the area – at least it hit my area and turned everything white.

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The baby leaves were torn off trees, flowers were knocked down, and sewers were clogged with the vast amount that fell.

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The green lawn was sprinkled with white balls giving it a texture and turning it into a canvas with unlimited possibilities.

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There were no high winds or tornadoes in the area unlike those in Platteville (Colorado) but it was quite a shocker to see the sky open up and sprinkle dime/nickel sized hail on us.

Then, Mother Nature decided to move on, turn the sun back on and take the hail storm to Kansas.

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Clueless, mindless and totally freaky…


I guess I’ve always had that special touch of cluelessness. You can only hope to have it!   I just dug up this short story I wrote in 2006. Clueless, mindless and totally freaky… read on!

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September 13, 2006 - Salida , CO

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Today I arrived in this small mountain town to visit a friend. I had never been to her house but have had her address in my book for years. Jean told me where to locate the house key in case she wasn’t home.  When I got to this remote town, I called to invite her to lunch with me.  The house phone rang and rang.

As promised, she was out.  I ate lunch by myself and was at her house by 1:30 p.m. but still she wasn’t home.  There was no reason for me to locate the key, she’d be home soon.  To pass the time, I took a walk, taking in the view, talking to the cemetery caretaker and then walked back to the hwooden bearouse, through the backyard … and sat on the porch on one of the 4 wooden rocking chairs.

After 30 minutes, I decided to check the planter for the key and didn’t find it.  Then I went to the front door and looked in another planter, no luck. Then I moved the life size wooden bear ornament and sure enough – the house key was there! I entered the house and it was clean and tidy and quite beautiful.

I decided to look at photographs to make sure it was the right house – though the address was the same as the one in my address book.  Out of the house, back to my car (which was parked in the driveway) got my glasses and back inside the house again. There were some photographs here and there but was that Jean and her husband? What was I looking for?  Was this her daughter getting married in the photos? I kept looking for some sort of identification that spelled out I was in the right place.

A huge banner hung over the loft upstairs with the name Murray.  What was Jean’s maiden name anyhow?  I kept looking for more proof that this was Jean’s house – and finally in one far corner of the house was an email printed out and at the top was   To: Sue Murray.  Oh my god! I was in the wrong house!!!

I hurried out of the house, locked it, put the key back under the bear and drove to the middle of town where I was able to get phone connection and called Jean. She was home, waiting patiently for me.  My heart was still beating.  She had moved 2 years earlier. Didn’t she already give me her new address?  I could hardly hear her, my heart was still pumping blood into my ears.  Oh my god!

Feel free to tease me about this if you want.
And feel free to share this with someone that’s been having a hard day.

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Words of wisdom on a Monday morning


Finish each day and be done with it.cropped-img_23541.jpg
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
                                                                                                              –Ralph Waldo Emerson