Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Finally, here is a midway shot of the Himalaya carnival ride. Take the colors in these images, multiply them exponentially by 47, and you'll have an idea of how lovely the colors were at dusk at the St. Clair County Fair last Friday night.
Ahhhhh... sigh... Wouldn't it be fun to help build and decorate all those rides?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
What caught your eye today? Did you pause to admire it, observe it closely, experience it? It's easier said than done, this pausing. There's little time for it when you're grabbing the mail, downing the last sip of coffee, trying to find your keys, and jumping into the car to head to work. When it's still summer, the kids and I don't have to do the early morning rush to school... and I am lucky enough to be able to pause and look more closely when something catches my eye. I hope I can remember to do it occasionally once we're back into the school routine (them to their school, me to mine for work). Despite the rush, despite the anxiety of wondering whether you'll beat the bell if you have to turn around and go back to the house because someone forgot their glasses or you noticed your shoes don't match, despite the stresses of modern living, it does us all good to pause to gaze at the world around us.
It's funny how times have changed since I was a kid. I don't remember my mother ever catching grief from other people because she was a stay at home mom, but I can attest to the guilt and grief that can accompany it nowadays... see how I felt compelled to mention it before I continue with the "pause when you can" message? Anyway, that brings me to another conclusion. People can be in the stressed out phase or in the pause-and-enjoy phase at any given time. It's not just that there are two types of people (with apologies to the Type A and Type B personality theory), it's that each of us has the potential to be in either phase. We don't have to confine ourselves to one mode all the time. The laidback Type B can step it up, and the perpetually stressed Type A can relax... it's all a matter of timing and opportunity and remembering it's possible.
To that end, I figure sharing what you see when you pause is bound to be a good deed. It opens up the view to people in the rushed phase. If only for a few seconds, it reminds them sunlight changes its hue from season to season and apples aren't just crayon red. It captures and pares down a scene into smaller vignettes that can be easily consumed. It's sort of like making life vitamins to supplement busy schedules. So, open up. Here are some vitamins to pop when you have the chance:
- Summer sunlight floods our front window in the morning hours. This house has a lovely triple window in the dining room. It is uncovered, except for the small light-blocking shade the former owners installed to cover the middle panel when the sun is beaming in the morning. Sometimes, even I pull the shade. Ah, but it is amazing to see the sun bathe whatever is on the table. The pinks and reds and pale yellows in the apple skins were glowing this morning. As I walked by the table, coffee in hand, I couldn't help but stop and look at the shadows and highlights on the plump apples. James thought these Cripps Pink apples looked so delicious that he reached back into the bin at the store and grabbed an extra one to buy.
- Venturing into the jungle that started the summer as a garden, I found the first gourd among the buttery yellow blooms and light green, fuzzy leaves. Faint light yellow lines run vertically on the deeper yellow body of the pear shaped gourd, and a tiny green hat tops it off.
- The watermelon vines are wandering all over the garden jungle. There have been many small yellow blooms, but I still haven't spotted a watermelon. While I was contemplating whether it's too late for those watermelons to start growing, I glanced down to find a big fat snake snoozing on the landscaping pebbles. He was about two feet long and an inch or so in diameter. Talk about pausing... I think my almost bare in flipflops feet froze and my heart stopped. (Oh, and now the vicious cycle circles more strongly. The garden is too overgrown with grass and weeds, so I'm scared to get in there and pull stuff out because there might be a snake waiting for me. Since I haven't pulled all that stuff out, now there's really a snake enjoying living in the garden. Ack!)
- Breakfast: Cooked an egg in a little bit of pepper and butter, covered it with the leftover red peppers and onion and mushroom from last night, and sprinkled it with shredded parmesan cheese. Let it all bubble. Put it on asiago cheese bread toast with mayo and a slice of tomato. Eating it with a fork because it slides hopelessly side to side if you try to pick it up.
That's all from me today. Hope your day is filled with little opportunities to pause :)
Monday, August 1, 2011
- writing your name on the first page of a new notebook
- lacing the strings on a new pair of shoes
- pulling open the spout on a new carton of orange juice
- breaking the vacuum seal and smelling the scent of a new bag of dark roasted coffee beans
- sticking the key in the ignition of a new car for the first time
- mowing the grass for the first time in the spring
- making the first mark on a squeaky clean whiteboard
Well, the list will keep growing as the day progresses, because I'm going to will myself to think in terms of "new" and "fresh." This reminds me, why do little boys like to wear the same pair of socks until they are crunchy? Don't they recognize the good feeling of pulling sweet smelling clean socks onto your feet?
See, look at that. "Fresh" doesn't even have to be brand-spanking "new" to be good. Renewal is often even better than the first-"new"-al. The first time you do something, you can't compare it with anything else. Remember your very first day of school? It was exciting, wasn't it? I remember waiting for the bus on the wrong day, by the way. After about an hour of my mother telling me to quit waving and making weird chopping gestures at passing cars, we figured out it was the teachers' first day! Anyway, the point is that I was so excited and ready for school, but I had no idea how that feeling would compare to other back-to-school days. Each year, there would be friends and fun and challenges awaiting... and I could compare those exciting new things to last year. By the end of any school year, you're ready to move on to the next year, even if it's a little scary. The sense of renewal floods your mind, doesn't it?
- This year, I will make hundreds on all my spelling tests!
- This year, I will lay my clothes out the night before and not rush so much in the morning!
- This year, I know I can finish my projects early!
Hee hee, it's catching, isn't it? The joyous sense of renewal is hard to ignore, once you start thinking about it. You can limit yourself to New Year's Day, and the start of school if you have kids or work in a school system... or you can choose to have that feeling 365 days of the year.
Hmmm. One or 2 versus 365? I think I'm opting for 365! Happy Fresh Start, Everyone!