Particles of Wisdom

IMG_0004I don’t know if it’s something to do with getting older or maybe it’s just that time of year, but I find myself searching for something.  I don’t know what that “something” is yet.  So I’m doing my best to be in a mindful state as much as possible, waiting for the universe to reveal particles of wisdom.  I hope I’ll recognize them when they appear.

Writing has always been a passion of mine.  I used to write a blog every Sunday morning back when MySpace was the cool place to be.  I’d write about anything and everything on my mind, including some of the guys I was dating after my divorce.  A few of the guys I wrote of were flattered; others not so much.

Years later I find I don’t know what to write about.  I took an online blogging course to help me find direction and gather tools for posting blogs.  People (like Seth Godin) come along with some very insightful blogs which prompt deep thought.  I find myself wondering what it really is I’m trying to do.  What is my purpose in blogging?  What wisdom am I trying to impart?  And I’m lost – I don’t really know.

I feel like the universe is nudging me along.  Since last summer I have reacquainted myself with things I used to love when I was much younger.  Metaphysical things.  Reading about different religions.  Reminding myself how much I love music and writing.

So maybe my purpose is to write about my journey?  I’m not sure yet.  I’m hoping the universe, and time, will tell.

Until then, I’ll sip my morning coffee on Sundays and work on redeveloping the weekly blog posts.  See you next week?

Finally, and All About Floundering

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Patience. It took a lot of patience, but I finally got a picture of the bluejay in the backyard. Only took over a year.

Getting this picture was also a catalyst for blogging. Write is a verb, and it’s an action word that sits in the back of my mind poking at me, prodding me to take action. I hesitate far too often. Why? Because even though I am constantly thinking about writing, I never seem to “find” the time to do it. I’m learning it is not about finding the time, but rather making the time.

Just like the bluejays, I fly away the instant something distracts me or jars me from my thoughts. Elusive, those thoughts that run together creating a cohesive twist of words describing what is on my mind at any given moment. I need to capture them just like the photo of the bluejay. Snag them, make them hold still for just a few moments while I use them to paint the picture in my head.

Say what?

I flounder.

Mr. Sociopath

I read a newsletter written by one of our salesmen, and he mentioned a book titled, “Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight”. I immediately thought about the guy who almost ruined my life. PEOPLE, listen to me … if you think, even for a split second, that you may be in the company of a sociopath, RUN!

My Dad is the only person besides the sociopath and me who knows all of the ugly details of what my life was like between 2002 and 2005. My Dad was the only one I could turn to for help in sorting out what was real and what was a lie. It took months and months of visiting that guy in prison and reading through many, many letters he sent me before he finally starting admitting all the deception, all the manipulation. He was a puppet master, and I was his unknowing marionette.

I have written several times over the years about a book EVERYONE should read. It’s called “The Sociopath Next Door”. If you haven’t read it, at least consider reading it. It could save you a lot of grief at some point in your life.

It’s truly amazing how, when you’re in a relationship with someone, your mind will make excuses for the odd things going on even when your gut says something is amiss. I did that countless times, and in hindsight, I kick myself in the butt for not listening to my gut. I listened when people told me what a great guy he was. I was amazed by all the things I read in old newspapers about him, a good businessman with brilliant ideas. I met many people he knew, friends and coworkers alike. On the surface he was a great guy. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why things happened the way they did. But things unfolded, and my life unraveled.

Lessons learned the hard way.

Anyway, I don’t know that I’ll pickup the book our sales guy mentioned because I think it will remind me of too many things I’ve tried over the years to forget. But that doesn’t mean you should skip reading it. At least pick up a copy of “The Sociopath Next Door”. Please.

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Two Things

I went to my favorite mall last Friday to shop for my Dad’s Fathers Day present and to pickup a navy colored blouse. Two things.

And two things I noticed.

One, that it is ridiculously impossible to find a simple short sleeve navy blouse. Oh sure, you can find navy prints, navy t-shirts, dark blue pullovers, royal blue sweaters, and navy Polos … but good luck finding a simple dress blouse in navy. I don’t know if it’s because it’s summer or what, but I had to settle for a crew neck pullover. Not what I had in mind.

Two, there were no scents. I mean, except for the hair salon odors of hair spray, nail polish, and perms, I didn’t smell anything as I walked about the mall. No heavy perfumes on the females, no overwhelming deodorant smells, no baby powder scents on the babies. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Odd, don’t you think?

The department stores offer passer-bys the opportunity to try the latest craze in perfumes. Nothing noticeable as I wander through them! Surely someone has just come from a beauty salon or a diaper change? Nothing!

I didn’t know what to make of it and then finally decided that it must have been coincidental given the time of day I was meandering through the mall and the mix of people wandering around. Surely, it couldn’t be the start of a trend!

I purchased my Dad’s present and walked happily out of the mall with both items still pondering the lack of odors. And then I merged into the traffic on the Beltway, and all thoughts mingled with the awareness of everything going on around me. The cars, the exhaust, the road work. The mindlessness of having to drive further than you’d like to just to pickup a couple of things.

I’d rather be at home, in my backyard, smelling fresh cut grass and honeysuckle in the air. Noticing the things around me through their scents and chilling in my swinging chair. The perfect end to a summer day.

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Learning

Life is an endless cycle of learning. Whether we realize it or not, we are always learning something. It could be something as simple as a new recipe or a new way to apply make-up or wear a scarf. It could be something as grand as writing a new song, coming up with an idea for a book or invention – or even realizing that something we’ve been hoping for has just been dropped on our front door.

Don’t ignore the signs. Don’t miss your opportunity to soar.

Mission

I want 2013 to be the year I figure out what my mission in life is. I’m just like the vast majority of people who have a plan for their lives but encounter various forms of setbacks time after time. I want to pull my feet out of the quicksand called status quo and blaze a more creative path for myself.

Suggestions are always welcome!

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The Way to Spend New Year’s Day

It’s New Year’s Day, and it has been a good one so far. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to work today and thankful that I got several things accomplished. I like being productive regardless of which day of the week it is and whether I accomplished something big or small.

I drove to Frederick to visit Davidus Cigars to pick up a particular cigar the Westminster store didn’t have and also to look at humidors. I paid a couple of bills and started serious editing on the novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. I put together a crock pot of pot roast to cook for dinner tomorrow. I did a load of my dog’s bedding. And I ironed. See? Productive!

The drive to Frederick was great. There was hardly anyone on the roads outside of Westminster and Frederick, so I had some quality driving time to bask in the solitude of the drive. I love to think, to ponder things. It was my “me” time today.

It’s going to be a very busy year at work. Tomorrow kicks off the new year and a multitude of studies and analyses that we already know we will be doing. Excellent; it’s great to have a plan.

So now as I write this I know the remaining hours of this day will be spent relaxing with a nice cup of tea from Teavana with my feet sprawled on the ottoman as we watch something (to be determined) on the TV. A nice ending to a peaceful New Year’s Day.

I hope we all have a great 2013!

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Holiday Shopping Notes

I went shopping for stocking stuffers and shoes on Saturday.  I was truly in the Christmas spirit as I walked through Towson Town Center.  I found something at Macy’s that I wasn’t sure to pull the trigger on, and after four times of trying on the item the sales clerk told me she could give me an additional 25% off the already 40% sale price, and I told her with a huge smile that she made my day.

Every store is having great sales.  Harry and David had exactly what I needed plus a pepperoni stick from Vermont!  Yeah!

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Things were going well.  Everything that I went to the mall for was getting checked off my list.  And then I had an encounter with a sales person that could have really dovetailed my day.

I went to Teavana for the first time.  They had a couple of sample teas to try at the entrance to the store, and I fell in love with one of them.  I figured it wasn’t going to be cheap, but the tea was phenomenal.  I walked around the small store looking at their tea pots and cups.  When it was my turn, the girl behind the counter couldn’t have been less interested in the fact that it was my first time in the store and that I didn’t have a clue how the bulk tea was sold.  She seemed exasperated as she explained the difference in the large tin container versus purchasing the smaller decorative tins which cost more.  Then she told me the price for an ounce, and I know my eyes popped as I said, “Wow.”  She of course followed with the information that I could buy less than an ounce.  Which I did.

I handed her my credit card and she rang up the purchase.  Before the receipt printed for my signature, I asked her if I could see the peach tea in the upper right hand corner behind the counter.  The look she gave me was like, “Really?  You’re going to ask me that NOW after I’ve already rung up your purchase?”

I smiled and said thanks after she let me smell the peach tea.  I signed for my purchase and left the store determined to not let her attitude interfere with the rest of my day.  However, I made a conscious decision to not let that girl wait on me the next time I decide to buy tea there.  Or maybe, since I don’t get to Towson that often, I’ll just buy the tea online (although I won’t have the benefit of smelling the teas prior to purchase).

I understand that everyone is entitled to have a bad day now and then, but when you’re a sales clerk trying to make a sale, you have to put your best attitude forward regardless of how crappy you might feel inside.  And seriously, if a customer tells you that it’s the first time they’re in your store, you should go all out to make sure their experience is top notch – that’s the way to get them back into the store.

I’m adding this note on Dec. 9 – I went back to Teavana today.  Would you believe the same person waited on me today too?  She did!  And she was great – helpful, providing the information I needed.  What a difference time makes, huh?  Well, I just want to let everyone know she was a totally different person, and I hope whatever soured her day previously doesn’t happen again for a very long time.

Happy holiday shopping everyone!

National Novel Writing Month

Wow, are my fingers tired! For the first time, I decided to take a shot at writing a novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is November. On and off during the past 25 days, I have put together a story that has been stirring inside of me for years. The goal for being titled a “winner” for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words, and the sites’ verification process counted 50,550 words in my novel. Whew! That’s a lot of words!

I have to thank Jamie, Josh, and Buddy for putting up with me during these past several weeks because, except for the week I was gone for training in Chicago, I have been consumed with writing this novel. I have to admit that I feel a sense of peace right now that the story is final out there.

What comes next, I don’t really know.

Happy day, everyone! 🙂

Return from Hiatus

My nephew Mike, bless his soul, sent me a Twitter text and asked me where my blog posts have been. Thanks for nudging me, Mike!

I’ve been taking an unplanned hiatus from blogging, a little overwhelmed lately with some family and personal issues. I felt like I want to reach out to someone, to bounce ideas off someone, but I didn’t know who that “someone” was. Very frustrating. Plus I felt that whatever I might have said in a blog may have been something I shouldn’t have said. Maybe that doesn’t make sense. I used to be able to bounce ideas off a friend I had a while ago. But that friend turned out to be someone who had self-serving rules of what constitutes friendship, and after 10 years of being friends, I had to walk away. Chalk it up to the process of frustration elimination.

It’s been a very emotional year so far. One of my aunts has been diagnosed with lung cancer. One of my cousins (a few years younger than me) had a stroke, and while they don’t know what caused the stroke yet, they found a brain tumor. Another aunt (who I’ve always considered more of a cousin than an aunt because she’s the same age as me) was just diagnosed with COPD and asthma. Another cousin who is my age had bypass surgery several months ago. One of my younger cousins passed away suddenly earlier this year. I’d say they’re dropping like flies, but that sounds crude, so I won’t say it. And things haven’t been going all so well for Josh either. He’s been having his share of this bad year too.

There has been a convergence of not-so-wonderful things happening. It’s all very unnerving.

But on the brighter side …

Deb and Mike, my sister and brother-in-law, visited last month. Let me tell you, I’d been waiting 13 years to see them pull into the driveway, and when they did, I started crying – not bawling, but tears of happiness. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I wanted to hold onto them and not let them go back home. It was great spending time with them, talking, going to the Renaissance Festival, catching up. Yes, we talk on the phone just about every Sunday, but it’s not the same as face-to-face time.

I want (need) to take a road trip to Chicago soon (although it probably won’t happen until after March) to see the family (including Ms. Mia Zatanna Knol) and to bring back some of the fabulous Chicago culinary experience. Just to name a few food items – authentic Chicago style hot dogs (including real hot dog relish in jars I can bring home), Italian beef, Don’s Dock fish chips, Tortorice’s pizza (my favorite), Green River, Pagliacci Giardiniera, and maybe some German potato salad from Kuhn’s Deli. Ahhhhh … can’t wait!

I have a take-away for you …

Don’t be afraid of the future. Don’t let the bad events of the past prevent you from finding your own happiness in the here and now or in the future. Hold onto those who love you and those whom you love, because you can never know just how long they will be in your life. Don’t take them for granted! Share your dreams, your life, with someone who “gets” you. It’s worth everything!