Be you.

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I have always been a fan of Dr. Suess. My first memories are being curled up in my Dad’s strong arms as he read Green Eggs and Ham and Cat in the Hat. The silliness of the words created a temporary world of fun and wackiness. There has been criticism of Dr. Suess’s work being sexist and raciest or teaching children nonsensical words. As always, we put adult thinking on what is suppose to be fun for children. I always enjoyed trying to wrap my mouth around his words. Yes I may have made up a word or two…but they rhymed! Isn’t that teaching? Books aren’t always about learning language…its creating a place to open up the imagination…its about being goofy and uninhibited and vulnerable. Things we seem to lose as we grow older.

As adults we are afraid to show that side…always afraid of what others may think. We fall into that fitting in as opposed to belonging. Showing ourselves…our goofy, crazy side(you knowww that it’s in there!) is being authentic…being vulnerable. If those around you criticize, then you are with the wrong ones. Those who love you, the people you depend on, are not your critics. They are there with you! They don’t care. So wear your funky socks…do your twirking twister dance in the kitchen…dance in the rain!

“Be who you are, say what you feel Because those who mind DON”T matter and those that MATTER don’t mind!”

Have an awesome day!

I wonder…but

A few years ago, I won a gift certificate to Winner’s!  I tucked it into my wallet, thinking of all the practical things I should buy. I wondered around the store, caressing different things, setting them back down. Then my eyes fell to a bottom clearance rack and there it was…an Introduction to Watercolor kit! I love watercolors! I had always wanted to try! Heck…out went the practical.  When I got it home, I quickly opened up the box…there were 10 little tubes of color like yellow orchre, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and hooker’s green..six water color pencils (who knew?)…a tablet of paper, brushes and of course the instruction book!! It was all right there!!

And there it stayed.

I convinced myself that there was no way I could create a painting that was worthy of…well…anything! Who was I kidding? The fear of imperfection. The fear of failure. I wondered…but.

Our fear of what others think, our need to fit in instead of belonging, our fear of failing. Without mistakes, there is no learning. Without risk, there is no innovation. Without imperfection, there is no love.

20181211_102239 It took me three years and a shift in my soul, to haul out that kit. This was my first, mostly ink. I love the imperfections.

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Watercolors blend and run and give you a result totally different than you wanted…but it’s okay! It all starts with the wonder…then just taking that brush and paint…and going for it. The “but” might just turn out to be exactly what  you were looking for.

This last one, I momentarily fell back into that “not perfect mode” when I noticed one tire was bigger than the other. My daughter said, “But mom, it is part of the charm!”

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Put your funky socks on and do something that  you always wondered about! No buts!

 

Cheers!

The Oak and the Reed…an Aesop Fable

There was once an oak tree growing beside a river, and there was also a reed growing beside that same river. The oak tree was very proud and boastful, while the reed was very modest. Even when the oak tree insulted the little reed, the reed remained cheerful, refusing to argue with the sturdy tree.

“You are such a puny and small plant,” the oak tree said to the reed. “Just look at how tall I am and how hard my trunk and branches are! You, on the other hand, are tiny, weak, and worthless.” The reed simply smiled at the oak tree but said nothing in reply.

Then one day the sky grew dark with thunderclouds. Rain began to pour down from the sky and mighty winds began to blow. The reed was able to bend and sway in the wind, but the oak tree was torn up by the roots and fell to the ground. In the end, it was the reed, not the oak, who survived.

Nature shows that it’s better to bend than break.

Bend, Don’t Break.

If you know me, you will find around my neck a Plum & Posey necklace. It is a bent tree…a handcrafted impression of a wax seal from the 1820’s.

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My mantra has become Bend, Don’t Break. I use it for simple things, as controlling my frustration in traffic to life events that don’t go the way I hoped. It helps me stop and think before I speak. Strength. Hope. Flexibility. Adaptability. This necklace reminds me to stop, breathe and even cry f I have too. If you are an Outlander fan, Claire wears a stone around her neck that glows red when poison is near. I have my tree.

Bend, don’t break.

Have an awesome day!

Nine Lives

My mom is an avid reader of the Chronicle Herald. I think she is one of the few that still get it delivered every morning to the end of her driveway. Not that mom couldn’t get it on line…at 87 she is quite computer savvy…but I believe she loves the feel of the paper. More importantly, she is able to fold it back and over to do the puzzles every morning…her day doesn’t start until the cryptogram and crossword are solved! But it wasn’t the puzzles that caught my eye back in October while I was visiting her, it was the front page story: “CAT SURVIVES FALL AFTER AERIAL BATTLE”.  I was intrigued.

You see Skippy was a barn cat. His duties were to guard the barn that housed such tenants as horses, goats, donkeys and a mule…those not invited were the freeloaders of the rodent kind. Skippy was very successful at his job. He would prowl the area at night and with the morning light you would find him on a bale of hay waiting to greet his owner, Blair. He would receive a friendly head rub, curl up and have a nap.

What happened on the night of August 25 is only speculation, the real story only told by Skippy and understood by cats.  It is believed that while out doing his evening rounds, Skippy was picked up by an owl…an owl that probably studied Skippy’s movements…watching him from above for days…knowing exactly when Skippy was most vulnerable…and that night he swooped down, clamped down with his sharp talons and carried him off!  What the owl didn’t expect was Skippy’s fighter instinct!  The owl had grabbed him by the back legs…leaving Skippy’s front free. As the owl flew, Skippy twisted and scratched causing the owl to fly erratically, bouncing off trees and having to fly higher! I am sure the owl was thinking, “This was not the usual rabbit!” Struggling to keep a grip, while being pierced by needle like claws, the owl decided it was not worth it and released Skippy!  No one is sure how far up they were when this happened…but the myth that cats always land on their feet was about to be tested. Skippy broke his right shoulder, his left leg and broke his left hip. Skippy landed on his feet. They figured that Skippy was dropped outside the boundary of the 5 acre farm. It took Skippy 10 days to use his one good BACK leg to drag  or push himself home…drag himself to the only place he knew where he would be found…the bale of hay. Blair was blown away! He couldn’t believe that this little 18 month old cat had the will to live and wanted to come home and knew where he would be found. Picked up by an owl…and dropped!  He kept going.  He was a cat!!  Of course he would survive! He has nine lives! You see when god created cats, he stood by that assembly line, and he/she said these cats are too darn curious…I’m going to pack them with extra agility, some extra dexterity, some extra strong legs and sharp claws and give them extra lives because one day an owl is going to nab them and drop them from the sky!

Now I believe that we all have 9 lives too!! Yes?  I know that I have been picked up by an owl many times and dropped…sometimes 50ft sometimes 2 and I have crawled back home. This is what I believe:  no matter what your faith,  that when god had us on that assembly line he/she said…this girl is going to go through something…she’s going to be picked up and dropped a few times…this guy is going to go through something…he’s going to be picked up and dropped a few times…he’s  going to experience betrayal let’s pack him with extra tenacity…she’s going to experience hurt and abandonment let’s give her some extra faith and forgiveness…she’s going to experience a health issue or family issue let’s give her some spirit and extra resiliency!  Something’s going to happen…let’s make sure that every time he or she gets picked up and dropped… they keep going…they still heal.  Stephen Hawkins, brilliant scientist contracted Lou Gehrig’s disease, picked up and dropped. Nelson Mandela, sentenced life in prison…picked up and dropped.  My mom, 72 radium treatments from 9 months to 16 years…picked up and dropped…but they all kept going. You may face challenges that will make you question how can I keep going?  But you have to remember, you were packed with the tools to do so. An owl can swoop out of nowhere grab you and let you drop. But you will be okay…you too have 9 lives…maybe more!

 

Have an AWESOME day!

 

 

 

 

What color are your Socks!

I remember one of my job “reviews”, you know, the ones they do after your first six months. It sounded a little like this: “Your work is timely. You are a team player, yet able to work well on your own. Your customer service is excellent. The only area that needs improvement would be in your dress…your socks are not dress code.” Seriously??

How do you feel about socks? It’s not a question you get asked everyday. Depending on how you wear them, they can be a necessity in which, blue black or grey will do–or they can be a window on how you approach life. Who would have thought that? Socks…down there, lurking at the bottom of your pants, unassuming and almost secretive. What color are your socks?

It was Easter when I was about 6, that the Easter Bunny left me my first pair of multi-colored socks! Not just colored socks but TOE SOCKS!! A beautiful burst of bright Crayola color circling in stripes up to my knees! Each with individual casings for my little sausage toes! I was so excited! My love affair with funky socks had begun! I had found my “sole” mate!

I grew up listening to the comedian, Steve Martin. Someone had asked him once ” Steve, how can you be so funny?”  He answered, “…it’s no big deal, and before I go out I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I’m on stage I feel funny!”  That’s how I feel when I but on a pair of vibrant socks! I pull them on and I smile, like I have an inside joke.  When I pass people I hear them whisper, ” What does she know that we don’t  or maybe it was, not sure she’s all there ?” When things get tense, I remember my socks! When I give a speech, I don’t picture people in their underwear, and I am sure some of them would be glad of that, but I picture my socks. Now perhaps you would think, what if I wore fun undergarments?  Wouldn’t that work? Sure it would, but if I were to flash my undergarments during a speech, I think my message would be a little different!!

If you are at a long meeting, sitting between two people, they both cross their legs, one flash black socks, one color which person would you want to get know? For example, being a Justice of the Peace, I join couples together in that sanctity of marriage. You can’t much more serious than that! Couples sometimes interview a few to find the best fit for them. Most often I will meet with a couple in a coffee shop but sometimes I will go to their homes. Such was the case when I met with a young psychologist and his wife to be. Upon entering the house, I politely took off  my boots and followed them down into the living room.  I made myself comfy on the couch, as the groom to be made tea. I caught a flash my socks:  dark pink with bright yellow emojis with red heart eyes and red tongues sticking out. Hmmmm not much I could do… should give the psychologist something to ponder.  As the cup of tea was set before me the psychologist commented, “I thought this mug would be best for as it matches your socks!” Yep a mug with smiley emojis! They chose me and my approach to life.

My friend Gina loved my exuberance, and she would feed my habit anytime she could.  I had given her a pair once, but Gina was a big gal and said they wouldn’t go around her ”trunks”. Gina didn’t need socks…she was full of the devil and had a deep contagious laugh.  A few years ago, cancer grabbed  hold of Gina. She held up her spirits as best she could. When it crept up to her brain, there wasn’t much cheer left in her. I wanted to do something for her. So I did what I knew best. I searched for the largest and funkiest socks and filled a shoe box and went to see her. She opened the box, and looked at me. “For the hospital I said, so your feet won’t get cold.”  Her eyes watered up then, she threw back her head and that deep beautiful laugh rumbled from her lungs. Each day in that hospital, she had a friend or nurse put on a pair. And by her wish, she was cremated with mismatched socks. There’s nothing more serious than death…and she chose to meet it with a laugh.

With all that is going on in today’s world, it’s hard to keep a sense of humor when we need it the most. It’s much easier to wear black, blue and grey socks.  Stick to the dress code. I choose crazy socks. They allow me to see things differently…to bounce back from life’s downs a little quicker… not to take life so seriously. When you feel good inside, people notice and want to be a part of it.

When my one year performance review came around it had one change: “You work well with others and definitely a strong trait is your sense of humor and ability to keep things light in the office when things get stressful. It is appreciated.  What did I change?  Nothing.  What color are your socks?