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My son is in college with the goal of working in music production, so the next thing on his To-Do Liszt is to get an internship in the industry. So, without too much fanfare, I’d like to propose that some dear reader in the music business give him a hand.

Do you know how many points I’d score if some music mogul reading this offered my son a job? It’d be off the charts! Then he’d have no choice but to visit me every so often, even after he hits it big on a grand scale. The important thing is to really get a Handel on the skills he’ll need so he doesn’t end up Haydn some 9-5 job.

So here’s my pitch: he’ll write you a song, and you send him money! Everybody wins! 🙂 Here’s a sample of one of his songs: 

stay here pt2

Barring that, perhaps you know of an internship position in which he could learn the ropes, kind of a bridge between school and the rest of his life. That transition can be major, and sometimes we fall flat when we first go solo.

There’s an old saying: Get a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’d love it if he got a great gig, preferably close by, so he can always bring me presents (let’s call them “royalties”); well-paying, so he can pay off my mortgage (maybe he can write a nice house music song to do so); and working with people who are upbeat.

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but life is a collaborative composition. If you can help someone out on the road of life, whether it be a lead on a job in their field or just a kind word, you’re part of a larger movement. That’s humanity in harmony. Thanks for listening. Be Bach soon!

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A young man knocked on my door today and said he was in the neighborhood “helping out” my neighbors. He mentioned specific names of neighbors whom he said had already signed up for his services.

I said I wasn’t interested. Closed the screen door, closed the inside door, locked the deadbolt, walked down the hall and realized he was still pitching his wares! I heard him talking to the closed door for a moment there.

Finally, he packed up his digital clipboard, got onto his segway and rolled to the next house. That’s a high-tech way to pester people, I must say.

I’m sure that none of my neighbors had signed up because we don’t want to encourage solicitation. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say, “Oh, Rene signed up? Let me call her to confirm what you’re telling me,” but I didn’t think of it until later.

What was he selling? Pest control, of course! Oh, the irony. Is there some kind of repellent for pest control salespeople?

Hmm. This has given me an idea for a new type of insurance: anti-solicitation coverage. If anyone shows up at your door to sell you something, the insurance company will give you money. Of course, you couldn’t sell this type of thing door-to-door!

People deserve better than to be sold a bill of goods, especially when you talk to them about what you believe. Helping a neighbor, holding a door for a stranger, offering a kind word — being neighborly is more effective than being a noodge. In faith and in fumigation, it’s better to be blessed than to be a pest.

For a previous blog post, I used the voice-to-text function on my phone to write down an idea, and this is what it wrote when I said SueBE’s name: “Ksubi”

That word sounds like an ancient dynastic title of some kind, which is fitting for our anthropology expert. Interestingly, it spelled Lori’s name correctly. It didn’t type Lorie or Laurie.

Sometimes you get your point across, even to a machine. At other times, you can’t even get through to other human beings. I’m constantly amazed at how in sync the three of us on this humble blog are, even though we’ve never met in person.

When I come into my fortune, I’ll fix things in need of repair in my house, get a new fence, re-finish the floors. Of course, I’ll pay off the house and bills. I wouldn’t want a new house or anything fancy.

If a genie told me, Do all those practical things, but you’ve also got to choose two things that aren’t practical, but would light you up from the inside. Well then!

Okay. I’d start a publishing house called “Yes Press” and ask Lori to be the editor. I’d ask her to curate uplifting wonderfulnesses (to coin a phrase) from around the blogosphere so we could have all the warmth in one place.

I’d start another publishing house called “HiStories” to tell history-stories that touch on how God has a hand in the life stories we co-create. SueBE could write about fascinating facets of nature that are hard to explain but interesting to ponder, like the Coelacanth, a living fossil that seems to have bypassed evolution. I believe God likes a good mystery and created this fish to give us something to talk about. So, if there are any traveling genies out there, come on over!

Well, I’m at that age where I’m looking for magic potions to smooth out my skin. When I was younger, I always said, “Why can’t people just grow old gracefully?” It’s not until you’re older that you realize no one grows old gracefully. They get old and look old, unless they get plastic surgery.

So I bought some anti-aging skin cream, and on the front of the package, it said that “97% of the people who used this cream saw results in two weeks.” Oh, I saw results all right.

Results:

  • I realized I’d just thrown away twelve bucks for no reason.
  • I realized I’d spent five minutes each night faithfully applying glop to my face for no reason.
  • I realized that the sample size of those who had used this cream and seen positive results was exactly three (3) people, all of whom were related to the manufacturer. Joe Wrinklecream’s mother and two sisters said it works like a charm.

Over-Hyped and Under-Performing Broken Promise Potion would be the new name I’d give to that product. But then, does anything live up to its claims these days? Did I really expect a miracle in a jar I got on Amazon?

The true life lesson is that “aging gracefully” is another way of saying “living gratefully.” I’m glad I’m still here. I appreciate my blessings. There’s still much to look forward to, wrinkles, stray greys and all. Living in the present and an attitude of gratitude? That’s what works like a charm.

Due to my visual and memory issues, I’ve asked Lori and SueBE to proofread my posts for me, and for one post, Lori showed me how to use an “em-dash” as opposed to an “en-dash.”

Hold on. There are two types of dashes? How long has this been going on?!? I can’t seem to find that button on my keyboard. Is there one? I don’t remember it from school (insert em-dash here once I find it) eons ago (em-dash again) and, in all my years (em-d) over 50 of them (em-d) have been punctuating incorrectly.

It’s like finding a new/retro toy! How does this thing work? Where can I use it? Let me think of sentences in which I can insert this new (to me) kind of punctuation. Bear with me (em-dash) just for a moment (em-dash) while I collect my thoughts.

Okay, I found the secret code online. To insert an “em-dash” on a laptop, you press the “Alt” key, and on the numeric keypad, type 0151.

The em-dash seems like a parking spot for a pause. It’s longer than an en-dash and more meaty, if you will. Yes. Maybe it stands for the letter “M”, as in “Meaty.”

Or maybe the “M” stands for “Metaphor.” Sometimes, you put your own needs on hold to take care of everybody else. You might fall into the trap of Placeholder Syndrome. The spot you’re in now is a pause in your own life’s sentence, like a jail cell that you carry with you.

You think, I’ll just wait until retirement to pursue my dreams. Or, I’ll wait until the kids are squared away, and then I’ll put myself first.  Maybe that “M” stands for “Me.” So I’d say to you — respectfully, of course — today is the day.

BugZooka WB100 Bug Catcher VacuumYesterday, I saw a silverfish in my bathroom and stopped in my tracks. Zowie! That’s a big bug. Four inches across. I got my trusty BugZooka (a tiny vacuum that sucks up the bugs so you can release them outside) and tried to capture her, to no avail. Undeterred, I went to the kitchen and got a plastic cup with a lid but couldn’t redirect her into the cup, so I talked to her. I’ve got to get you into this cup to relocate you or I’ve got to squish you. Sorry.

Surprisingly, she went into the cup. I went to the door and asked my son to open it for me and took her outside. Now mind you, I probably let in two flies while I was releasing Sylvia (the name I give to all silverfish. That, or Sid) but she had to go.

While I was chasing her around the bathroom, I realized she was afraid of me. For all she knew, I was the grim reaper, and I may well have been if I hadn’t caught her.

She was reacting in fear. I was reacting in fear.

What if everything that we’re afraid of is actually afraid of us?

As you go about your day, take note of what makes you anxious. Is it people passing by on a busy city street? Hold on. Are they looking at you the same way?

Pay attention to your fears today. They might be telling you they’re not so scary after all.

PS: This is not an endorsement of the BugZooka (although I like it). I only included the picture to show you what it looks like.

In SueBE’s post on her writing blog, One Writer’s Journey, she writes about finding a creative outlet for her downtime. What does this busy author with deadlines, family obligations, church work, bills to pay, etc., do to recharge her batteries? More work, of course! She takes an online course. But it’s work she loves to do, so it’s not work at all.

It would be more work for her to sit on a beach and do nothing. Suppose you said, “You’re now mandated to sit here and sip a drink under an umbrella and look out at the ocean. It’s for your own good!” I don’t presume to speak for her, but I do believe she’d hate that. Hate! I think her brain would still be formulating ideas, and she’d secretly use a lipstick and a coaster to jot them down when no one was looking. Idea for picture book: marathon runner trapped in starting gate, unable to run her race, teleports herself to the finish line. It’s something inside.

It would be like saying to Lori, “Don’t find the poetry in all that you see. Today, for twenty-four hours, you must think in a linear, black-and-white fashion. We’re re-training your brain to improve your overall health.” I believe she’d hate that. Hate! Even if you put shutters on the windows so she couldn’t see the clouds, trees and birds and be inspired to write a poem, she’d find a haiku in a dust bunny. A whole world would magically appear in her imagination and that poem would spontaneously create itself. It’s something inside.

When it comes time to recharge your batteries, plug into what works for you. Maybe knitting isn’t your thing, so how about painting or photography? Find the thing you enjoy. It’ll do you a world of good.

Living on the sunny side of the street, you realize that a positive frame of mind is portable. Even when I was in the hospital, I was so pleasant to be around that my doctor actually put it into my medical record that I was a “delightful patient.” Now, I’m not bragging. Just saying it really doesn’t cost anything to treat people well…although that hospital stay? It did cost an arm and a leg.

Still, I wonder if there’s another version of me out there in the ether, on some astral plane, who’s my opposite. Perhaps she’s named “Htur” (my name backwards.) Since I don’t get out much, am not rich, and have health issues, she must be the flip-side. She must be filthy rich, hale and hardy, and jet-setting all over the globe, living the heck out of life!

But it occurred to me that to really be the Bizarro version of me, she’d have to be awful to be around. Nasty to people. Entitled and belittling. So I got the good mood. She got the good life.

It also means she would have never met Lori and SueBE and all of you dear readers of our humble bloggie. Who really got the better end of that deal? I’m betting on the home team. In this era of negative news, we need all the positive energy we can find.

Every other article you see on the web offers information in the form of a list. Top ten ways to clean out your closet. Five things I’ve learned from going on a cruise. So annoying!

Then again, lists have their good qualities as well. Here are a few:

  • Lists are neat
  • They’re usually short
  • Ideas might be helpful
  • Good for those with short attention spans

Oh look! My favorite show is on now. Be right back.

As I was saying, on the other hand, lists can:

  • Give short shrift to important topics
  • Have unreliable sources
  • Make you believe any random broad from New Jersey (Yo.) is an expert on everything

Lists can be useful as a means of encouraging yourself. 

Today, I felt gratitude for so many things:

  • My humble home
  • My wonderful son, who’s my heart, walking
  • My smart phone, which I got reluctantly at 50 and became a true believer

And for minor miracles:

  • Second chances
  • “Coincidences” (AKA colliding with Providence) that work in your favor
  • Detours that lead to the right road after all

Not to mention all the creature comforts that add to my quality of life:

  • Light cream for my coffee
  • Leftovers (especially if it’s pizza) and of course
  • Lists

What are you grateful for today? Write it all down in the form of a list and life will look a whole lot brighter.

Oh, how I wish I’d kept the schematics for teleportation that I drafted when I was younger! I’d be sitting pretty right now. Yep. I’d be gliding through the ages, picking up tchotchkes here and there. A bust of Nefertiti for the sunroom. A Roman column for the front of my house. An actual Dead Sea Scroll for my reading area.

Time travel was one of the things I conquered in my mind as a kid. It was obvious to me that it was merely a matter of timing and geography. I’d read that mystics believed that the time when otherwordly wisdom is accessible is from 3 to 4 AM. Got it. Put that on my blueprint. Once I read about the “thin places” in Ireland, where legend has it that the veil between heaven and earth is thin, I had my formula.

All we had to do was set up shop at 3:33 AM (that just sounds like the most mystical time to me) one early morning somewhere in the pretty Irish countryside, and — presto! — we’d be flying through time. Simple!

These are all fanciful notions, but I invented whole worlds in my head as a child. Doesn’t it seem as though we leave imagination behind as we become adults? We forget how to play, and playing is the beginning of creating your own world.

Give yourself permission to paint or dance or make Lego sculptures. It’s a form of stress relief, and a way to express yourself. You’re never too old to be a kid again.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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