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Author Archive

Peeps

No, not your close family and friends.  I am talking about marshmallow Peeps.

For several years now, my partner and I have engaged in Peep ritual.  I don’t know how or why it began, but every year we each buy Peeps.  There is a certain achievement status in being the first to score Peeps…and then it begins.

Peep placement and Peep integration:  Integration involves separating colored sets and re-joining them.  For example, the sill above the kitchen sink has two of each color (hot pink, bright sky blue, soft lavender and baby chick yellow) lined up smartly like the front row of a marching platoon.

Peep placement is where the fun really begins.  Acting independently over the next several days we each place our Peeps.  Some placement is standard, like the above mentioned kitchen window sill.  Other placement is furtively creative.  There are surprise Peeps,  they show up in places one least expects.   The bathroom  and bedroom are favorite haunts of the peeping Peeps.  And last, but not least, the artful, aesthetic Peep placement.

I have always felt a uniqueness around our annual  Peep ritual, and then I read  an article  in the newspaper.  I learned more than I ever needed (or wanted) to know from The Power of Peeps.  Just Born Inc. will churn out 1 billion Peeps this year.  There is Peeps pop art, Peeps topiary and Peeps diorama;  apparently no end to creative, decorative  displays inspired by Peeps. (We are definitely amateurs!).

And then, the last shock…people actually eat them!  Right out of the box, smashed, micro-waved, roasted and deep-fried, Peeps are an epicurean delight!

I never thought that my relationship with little marshmallow chicks was anything more than a simple bit of fun.  Even though it feels a bit odd to be part of a such a grand movement, I’m sure we will continue our annual amateur Peep show.

 

Time

In my part of the world this  weekend marked the ‘spring forward’  ritual of Pacific Daylight Savings Time.  I, like many others,  have mixed feelings about this time saving artifice.

I am a morning person.  I don’t like  the time shift coming at the moment when the earth begins to wake from winter’s slumber;  however, I get used to it after a couple of weeks.

Yet, I have never been able to get past the time-saving aspect.  How do we save time?  The  hours in a day do not change. 

I am reminded of demonstration promos from the late Fifties touting the timesaving properties of technology.  Modernized kitchens, heating systems, communications, farming and methods of travel promised to free us from labor intensive living.  We all would now have more time to pursue a leisurely lifestyle. How is that working out for you?

We are adaptable and resilient creatures, but just when  we are totally settled into the spring-forward rhythm,  it is time to fall-back!   And our time-saving ability disappears with a slight of hand adjustment.

 

 

Retrograde

In astrological terms retrograde refers to a planet that appears to reverse its course. The planet Mercury retrogrades three or four times a year.  Mercury is the mentor and muse of communication and mental activity.  We are in the first of this year’s Mercury retrogrades, occurring February 23 to March 17.

Although these periods are generally viewed as difficult and challenging in the aforementioned areas, they also provide opportunity to pause and reflect;  to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

The current retrograde is happening in the water sign, Pisces.  Pisces is by nature sensitive, versatile and reflective;  further spot lighting the wisdom of honoring the energetic slow down of plans and projects.

I have but a cursory knowledge of Astrology.  If you are  interested in a deeper understanding of this phenomena and its effects,  I invite you to consult a professional Astrologer.

For the moment,  welcome the opportunity to pause and reflect on projects and personal communication.

 

Spam

This mornings discovery of spam in my regular e-mail, prompted me to search for better control, a filter fix/upgrade…anything to get rid of the obnoxious UBE’s (Unsolicited Bulk Mail).

Following Window’s 8 prompts, no matter what I did I could not get passed the second step.  I tried att/yahoo, Sonic, Firefox, and made  repeated visits to my PC control and management programs.  Alas, more than two hours later I am confused and unsuccessful.

Then, wondering just what spam is, I went searching for information.  Some things emerged from this formidable morass that I could easily grasp.  But I confess to being awed, not only by the legalities, but by the  volume produced via  this form of unsolicited mail.  In 2011, 7 billion pieces of spam were delivered by spammers through a process called spamming.

The contemporary  use of the word spam is traced to a skit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which I remember seeing and thought hilarious.

I am not laughing at the moment. However, as my mind begins creating a sardonic play on the revelations of this morning, a smile teases the conscious  corners of my morning adventure.  I can almost hear Monty Python singing, ‘spam,spam,spam, spam, spam….’

Allowing

One afternoon my Mother remarked that I had always been ‘a high energy person’.  I was over 60 at the time, and her remark was stunning.  I had never seen myself in that light.

Perhaps I should have been more aware of my high energy level because of my stubborn refusal to slow down…to go down.  As a consequence, when I did succumb, I usually went down long and hard.

Thankfully, I have learned to allow.  With certainty, one of the greatest challenges of my life’s path.  Allow some circumstances to unfold, rather than find solutions in 12 hours or less.  Allow myself to meditate on a decision; allow the dust to cover the furniture; allow the dishes to sit on the counter overnight…you get the picture.

The hardest part of allowing for me has been letting myself rest;   especially when my ‘high energy’ drops out.  Yesterday was such a day and I allowed.  I didn’t feel good but I had no specific symptoms.  I did feel really tired.

I did not clean, I did not do laundry, I did not do paperwork, I did not make phone calls, I did not work in the yard, I did not clean my car, I did not cook, I did not watch television.

I read.  I rested.  I read. I dozed.  I allowed!  I have also learned to take it slow and allow myself to ease back into my ‘high energy’.

This morning I feel good;  I no longer feel tired.  I am slowly moving into the day.  Quite a grand reward for allowing!

Clutter

The recent  beautiful spring-like afternoons awaken my dormant desire to deep clean.  As I contemplate my yearly ritual of sifting and sorting through closets, drawers, files and other cubbies, I am aghast at the amount of clutter.

Because I de-clutter on a regular basis the clutter conundrum surprises me.  It is at this moment that I consult Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman’s insightful work,  A Perfect Mess.  The authors brilliant look into the benefits of messiness console my perfection ridden guilt and help quell my inner critic.

Chapter One, ‘The Cost of Neatness’, begins with this quote from Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk?”

Thank you Gentlemen.

Solitude

“Some development of the capacity to be alone is necessary if the brain is to function at its best, and if the individual is to fulfill his highest potential.  Human beings easily become alienated from their own deepest needs and feelings.  Learning, thinking, innovation and maintaining contact with one’s own inner world are all facilitated by solitude.”

Anthony Storr,  Solitude

Solitude  for me is spending time with myself; reflecting, praying, meditating and most deliciously, not thinking at all.  It took time and practice to achieve, but the peace  that comes with ‘just being’ is profound.  And a state of  just being, of creative solitude is not easily accomplished in these times, but is an invaluable personal asset.

I invite you to enjoy the fruits of solitude.

Generations

Last weekend I attended a Memorial for my beloved Uncle.  Yesterday I attended a Baby Shower for my soon-to-be-born Great-Granddaughter.

My Uncle was the last surviving family from my Mother’s generation.  My new Great-Granddaughter is will be born to my youngest Grandchild.  It is a poignant perspective; endings and beginnings; death and birth.

I have achieved a senior position in the line of ancestry just by aging.  Nothing else is required.  However, I find myself reflecting on my contribution, not only to my generation but to those who will follow.  My efforts are far from perfect, but I am doing what I can.

There is a saying from the North American Indians that cogently expresses the Generational task, “We do not inherit the Earth, we borrow it from our Grandchildren.”.

 

Robins

Yes, Robins.  A seemingly odd juxtaposition to last weeks ‘Cold’.  Never-the-less the Robins are here.

A large Pyracantha in the yard attracts Robins to feast on the over-ripe berries.  According to Private Lives of Garden Birds by Calvin Simonds,  as Robins migrate from the southern United States to the North, they depend on wild berries and other fruits as essential food sources.  This accounts for the red-breasted invasion, but Mr.  Simonds does not mention a word about ‘drunk Robins’.

The spectacle does not last more than a few days; during which the Robins lose all sobriety.  They swagger-fly and drunk-hop until the  Pyracantha berries are so perfectly and  completely gleaned from the bush as to put to shame  any mechanized method for berry picking. 

So for these few days, the harbingers of Spring entertain me with their ribald behavior.  Under the influence, they can’t fly high, if indeed they can get off the ground.  They really do ‘drunk-hop’.  They screech and squabble with each other; and a truly hilarious moment is watching a drunk Robin dig up a worm and then try to keep it from his rowdy buddies.

Standing at the kitchen window, tightening my babuska against the cold, laughter warms my heart as I watch the antics of the drunk  Robins and know that Spring is not far off.

 

 

Cold

It is that time of year in my neighborhood.  As many of you know I am not a fan of cold weather.  It is 7:30 am and the thermometer on the covered porch reads 28 degrees.  Not as freezing as yesterday, but at these temperatures two or three degrees difference are no matter.

What you probably don’t know is that I am a ‘energy miser’.  Beyond the usual energy-saving strategies is ‘babuska’ wear.  Yes, it is true.  Inside my home I wear a wool blend scarf twined around my head and neck.  I seriously  look like a Russian Grandmother.  I am also wearing two pairs of wool socks tucked into LL Bean slippers, two shirts and a house-frau jacket.  I have not yet found gloves adequate to keeping my fingers warm while using the computer and providing the flexibility needed.

I am not about to heat the whole house (no wood stove here) as I sit working in one room.

There are some other activities that help me  handle the cold.  Excercise. Any movement helps; dancing in the living room is one of my favs this time of year.  I also ‘save’ the dishes from the night before.  Doing double-duty, morning kitchen chores warm my hands and fingers.  Still would like to find the perfect gloves.  Of course, they need to match my ‘babuska’ outfit…or maybe not.

I am counting the weeks til Spring!