Category Archives: Daily Musings

Brain Games

Well the old brain is clicking along today. Somewhat dazed, but the ramblings in my head don’t go away – except maybe when I meditate.

It’s funny we go through life trying to find meaning, to discover an identity for ourselves, and yet try as we might, we, as beings, are kind of hard to define.  And if we can’t even define ourselves, then how can we elucidate a purpose for this existence.

As I was listening to a song this morning the lyrics kind of hit home when I heard, “I don’t even need a name anymore, when no one calls it out, it kind of vanishes away.”

Continue reading Brain Games

Liebster Award # 3

I must extend my many thanks to Carly for nominating me for another Liebster Award.  You should really check out her blog, Message in Stanza, for some great musings, poetry, and photography.

I must also apologize for being slow because she nominated me a month ago, but here goes:

The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger that gave you the nomination and display the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions that blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random thoughts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination.
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer.

Humm, first off, I have to say I’ve never been one who likes to stay faithful to all the rules, so I guess I’ll play with these a little bit.  Next, I assume (I know, assuming is not the best thing to do) that items 2 and 3 are separate items.  Thus, the answers to the questions are different from the 11 random thoughts, and I just gave you one random thought, I don’t like to follow the rules all the time. 🙂

The Rest of My Random Thoughts:

I am thinking quite randomly today because I’m having a neurotoxic reaction to environmental pollutants and scattered thoughts is about all I can muster up about now.

Some days, no matter how organized you think you are going to be, everything will just deteriorate, or may actually improve, as seemingly chance occurrences unfold and take you in completely different directions than you had planned.  Fun stuff.

I plan to do some standing meditation today.

I will be meeting with a friend later, something I had not planned.

I began the day working on a book, but now I’m bouncing about randomly digitizing words.

We have had a real Midwest winter this year.  Last Tuesday it was a negative 7 degrees, Sunday it was 70 degrees and today we have freezing rain.

I’m still having trouble with this new keyboard not wanting to type the letters on the left-hand side.  So, I’m having to do a lot more editing and adding back in all those missing Ws, Rs, Es and Ts.

I’ve finally got the house warmed back up having rebuilt the fire in the woodstove. I love the woodstove 🙂

I’m thinking about the new gear I need to pick up for a planned trip this summer.

I’m looking forward to Spring when all the flowers will be back in bloom.

The Questions:

  • What are you most passionate about?

See number 3

  • What is one thing you would like people to know about you that is not so obvious?

Nothing, if it’s not obvious, then I probably don’t want people to know.

  • What are three of your favorite pastimes?

Traveling, Hiking, Writing, Photography – there, I gave you 4, although I usually combine them all into one activity Travwhikgraphy 🙂  I like making up words.

  • Who is your favorite author?

Always a toss-up.  I just love good writing.  But two of my favorite satirical writers are Kurt Vonnegut and Christopher Moore.

  • What is your favorite reading genre?

As I said before, I just love good writing.  Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, you name it.

  • Why is it your favorite?

Hummm – good – writing.  Well composed, sucks you in, can’t get enough type of writing.

  • What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Write.  Just start putting something on paper.  It doesn’t matter what.  Once you have something down, you have something to edit. That’s where the real fun is, I think.  Great writers don’t always write great stuff.  They write a lot, and a tiny bit of their stuff is great.  So write.

  • What two items on your bucket list might you do next year?

Going to Yosemite and taking a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.

  • What is something you have always wanted to say to a loved one who has passed?

To my Dad – “You’re the wisest guy I know, thanks for being my Dad.”

  • Who do you admire that is historically famous and why?

This could be any number of people, but today, randomly, I pick Thoreau.  Not only was he a writer, but he lived out in Nature, at least for a while.  And these are two of my favorite pastimes.

  • When was the first time you really got scolded by your parents?

Probably when I was around 5.  Once my Dad scolded us, we didn’t need any further discipline.  We knew to be good, and if we needed reminding, he gave us the “look.”  Yes, that look that bore right through you and said straighten up or else.

My Nominations:

Again, not being one who likes to follow the rules, I’ll not list out blogs here.  Instead, I nominate every blogger that I’ve had a discussion with here on WordPress.  You all know who you are, so if you want to participate and pick up this challenge (and you don’t have to) here are my questions.

My Questions:

These are the same ones I picked for my first Liebster Award, but they are good ones 😊

  • What is the title of the book you are going to write?
  • What is your favorite pet?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
  • If you’re doing the cooking, what’s for dinner?
  • What is your favorite poem?
  • Who is your favorite author?
  • If you could have a “do-over” in your life, what would you change?
  • What is your favorite travel destination and why?
  • Who is your favorite movie character?
  • If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?
  • If you could commit a crime, and knew you would get away with it, what would it be?

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

***

Day Dreaming

I woke up to a chilly negative seven degrees this morning.  That cold, biting air dug into my consciousness and said, “Hey, snap out of it.”  But what was “it?”

“It” has been the brain fog I’ve been in now for over a week.

“It” has thoroughly slapped me around, kicked in my rib cage, pummeled my face, knocked me down, and thrown me off balance.

“It” has challenged my days and made it difficult to write.

Yeah, I know, excuses, excuses.  But fighting pollution has taken on a whole new meaning for me this past couple of years.  Those unseen flyspecks, minute assassins, bouncing around my home.  Laying in wait.  Invading my brain.  Committing molecular murder.

With malice aforethought, “it” extinguishes my memory.

Evil.

Industrial chemicals.  A toxic world.

How to fight back?  Drift into a day dream . . .

A deep, clear, midnight blue lake, stretching out on the horizon, lapping against the shores of lodge pole pines, mountains shadow down in the distance.  Mirror reflections.  A shimmering pool.  A sailboat to slide across this glass surface.  Sanguine, tranquil, serene.

A distant memory.  Unleashing endorphins.  Light dancing in my camera’s lens. Euphoric.

I crank up the music – Freddy Jones Band – In a Day Dream

Tuesday morning,
Never looked so good.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sun is shining,
To wake me up.
No one around,
Just me and the sky.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sky is calling,
Calling out my name.
Telling me just to stay,
Stay and don’t go away.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

In a daydream…
In a daydream…
In a daydream…
Already in a daydream…

And so I begin anew, rising from the flames, oscillating between past travels, and future adventures.  The words come . . .

***

Photo: Day dreaming of the Grand Tetons.

Deconstructing

Wow!  So, I took an entire week off blogging.  I think that’s the longest time I’ve gone without making a post of some type.   It was sort of a culmination of things.

For one, my last story breathed life back into many memories from the past and that was a bit emotional for me.  I also had a few discussions with friends this past week that I found to be emotionally draining, and I received a very insulting letter from one of my former employers.

It was time to recharge a little, hibernate, and deconstruct.

Yes, deconstruct.

Instead of posting or actively participating in social media, I removed old posts, cleaned things up a bit, and did so in sync with doing some literal house cleaning.

Destroying can be as invigorating as creating – if it’s channeled correctly.  Even anger, which I believe is the most destructive emotion, can be channeled into something positive.

The week wasn’t all deconstruction, I also constructed an igloo since we had so much snow here.  And that was great fun.

But now it’s time to figure out the direction I’m going to go when I leave this temporary hibernation.  Leave the snow cave behind.

Only time will tell . . .

***

Clearing the Cobwebs

Well, I’m coming up to my one-year anniversary here on WordPress, and the blog has certainly helped me do what I set out to do with it.  It’s given me a creative outlet and provided incentive for me to write on a more regular basis.

That, in turn, has had many beneficial effects.  I do love to write, but I have to say, it is so easy to let time slip away with a million other things that it’s good to have something to help with my focus.  More importantly, I find writing to be very therapeutic for me.

The more I write, the better I feel.  And I have a lot of stories I want to get down on paper.  Some are a little hard to believe, but they’re true, and that makes them more fun.

I passed the 200-post mark a little while back and I realize as time goes on that my earliest posts probably aren’t being viewed by people anymore and I’ve decided to start taking them down.  They may get recycled at a later date in some form, but it’s time to clear the cobwebs off the blog, and out of my mind too.

New Year, fresh start.

I will keep up some of my personal favs, and some of those posts that everyone really liked.  And it may be time to start compiling some materials for a book.

Guess we’ll see what happens 🙂

***

Photo: An Orb-Weaver Spider, sometimes called a Yellow Garden Spider or a Golden Orb.  Orb spiders weave distinctive spiral webs.  I like to think that we, as writers, weave the stories we tell.  They go in all sort of directions, take many shapes, and have interconnections that will hopefully “capture our prey” – the attention and imagination of our readers.

spidy + spfx2

Coming Up: A little later today I’ll put up part one of my story that lost the writing contest I had entered it in.  (See my prior post “Loser.”)  I think it’s a good story from back in my road-living days of my early twenties.  It’s true too.  Hope you like it.

Loser

I found out yesterday that I did not win in a writing contest I had entered.  So, I guess that makes me a loser – LOL!

There were 2700 entries though, and the entry fee was $25.  The journal raked in $67,500 and only paid out a $5000 prize.  Clearly, they were the winners.

But I’ll look at this as being their loss.  I thought I had submitted a great story and since I no long have to worry about publication rights, I’ll be posting that story here on my blog 🙂

And it’s a true story too.

When I relayed the history of what happened to one of the parties involved he appropriately said, “Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.”

This story kind of flows sequentially with the multi-chapter story I’ve been writing called, very unoriginally, “A Story.”  And I might break this one up into two chapters since it’s about 2600 words.

First, I must complete Chapter 5.  My apologies for not getting it together sooner, but soon, I promise.

Yes, what will happen to Mike and me in our drug-crazed frenzy? 🙂

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with many happy surprises.  I have to get out for a bit today.  Helios is back and nature is calling . . .

***

Photo: The beautiful sunrise is marred by the damn telephone poles and wires – making it a loser of a pic 🙂  Just kidding.  It is a beautiful sunrise to a beautiful day, fitting with my post’s theme.  While my story and this photo didn’t win any contests, they are still winners as far as I’m concerned.  Here is a pic of that same time just prior to the sun breaking though.

sunrise 11-30-17 +

Turn About is Fair Play

As we begin a new circle around the sun, I think it’s a common thing for us to reflect back.  We not only give ourselves a list of goals for the new year, but we give ourselves a scorecard for the past year.  Where did we succeed and where did we fail?  What dreams were realized and which ones were dashed upon the rocks of despair.

Sorry, that’s a bit overly dramatic 🙂

Continue reading Turn About is Fair Play

Give Yourself Permission

As I rose from my slumbers a couple of days ago, I began my usual prodding of myself. “What are you going to do today?”  “What will you accomplish?”

I think we’ve all been conditioned to get in this frame of mindlessness.  We have to do something “constructive” in order to feel like we have any self-worth.

But who is this “judge” sitting in the back of our minds and where do all of these self-created pressures come from?  Why do we have to “accomplish” something and what makes that something “constructive” or “meaningful?”

I decided to give myself permission to take the day off.

Not in the sense of doing nothing, although arguably, there is value in that too sometimes.  But I gave myself permission to get off my own back.  To kill that self-judging voice in the back of my head.

What happened?

Well, I spent a good part of the day reading, relaxing, enjoying the freedom I gave myself not to attach my entire worth as a person on completing some task.  And it felt like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

So, I carried this state of mind over into a second day.  I read, meditated, had coffee with my daughter, took a long hot bath, built a nice fire in the woodstove.  And I cranked up the music and danced around the living room 🙂

It was absolutely liberating.

You see, by giving myself permission to quit judging myself, I actually accomplished much more in terms of gaining some peace of mind.  Of freeing my spirit.  Of capturing some happiness.  Of living in the moment.

Happy Holidays to everyone and give yourself permission to be joyous and free!

Crank up the music and dance!

***

Photo:  Somewhere in Oregon.  Open and free.  Rolling grasses.  Azure blue lakes.  Snow-capped mountain peaks.  Weightless beauty.  Liberation.

Winter Solstice

It’s that time of year.  Gray skies.  Light-time fades.  Contracting days.  A barren landscape.

It’s the first day of winter.  The season of dying, or the twilight of life as people sometimes analogize.

For me, it’s an appropriate time to end a cycle.  The death of a lifetime within a lifetime.

Continue reading Winter Solstice

Community

Yesterday was an interesting day for me because I actually had visitors at my place.  You see, my community, those people in my immediate physical sphere, as opposed to the cyber world, has shrunk over the years.

Our communities always shift and change.  We had a different group of people we hung out with during school that pretty much split up and went their separate directions.  Then we link up with significant others and that can bring their friends into our circles, but it can also begin to thin the numbers of friends that we have regular contact with as life takes over.

Time passes.  People become busy.  People raise families.  People become involved in other things.  People move.

A surprising number of people I’ve known have passed away.

Continue reading Community

Unfolding

Picture yourself unfolding some paper.  Perhaps opening a letter you just received from a great friend.  Or maybe it was scribblings from a time past that you crumpled up, cast aside, and you had forgotten what you had written.  Or maybe you’re opening a package.  It is Christmas time after all.

You’re not sure what you’ll find.

Now use that as a metaphor for today.  You are just beginning to discover what’s on the page of what will become another chapter in your memory.  You might think you have a plan for today, or for your life for that matter, but you don’t really know what you’re going to discover or what will really happen.

It’s unfolding.  In its own time and its own way.

That’s the way my day is starting.  Really, that’s the way all days start.  But I am truly amazed at how what appears to be a scattering of random things or events seems to coalesce into something that seems fateful.  Like something that was supposed to happen.  Set in motion by the Universe some time before, it keeps building into something more.  Something of real value.  A chain of events comes to fruition.  Physically or mentally or spiritually.

Insight.  Wisdom.  Compassion.  Forgiveness.  Love.

Continue reading Unfolding

Like

I have to say, I really appreciate the WordPress community.  I learned about WordPress when I was looking at job postings for writers and started noticing that a number of them required WordPress experience.  So, I Googled it to find out what it was.

Then I met Laleh Chini on Twitter and was introduced to her blog, “A Voice from Iran.”

After checking out a few more blogs and seeing their beautiful formats, I decided to take the plunge.

One of the things that really amazes me it that we can meet people from all over the world.  And even if their blogs are written in different languages, it’s not much trouble to copy and paste something into Google Translate and read it.

I like looking at other languages and seeing how others compose their ideas.  I think the text is beautiful and I am awed about the whole concept of learning a language.  How do we master such a thing?  Other languages look so foreign to me, it’s hard for me to imagine how children in those countries grow up learning them.  And multilingual people fascinate me even more.

It is such a human trait.  Language.  It’s taken for granted.  And just look how much communication has evolved and the technology that we use now to share our stories all over the world.

I know we all love it when others in our community like our posts.  So here are a few examples of beautiful language from around the world from some of my blogging friends just using the word “like.”

Indonesian                           DisuKai

Turkish                                  Begendi

Italian                                     Mi piace

Norwegian                           Liker

Romanian                             Apreciaza

German                                Gefällt mir

Spanish                                 Me Gusta

Russian                                  нравится

Hindi                                       पसंद

Swedish                                Tycka om

French                                   J’aime

Irish                                        Cosúil

Japanese                               好き

Pakistan (Urdu)                  کی طرح

Nigeria (Yoruba)                 Bi

Phillipines (Filipino)         Katulad

Finnish                                     Kuten

Azerbaijani                            Bəyən

Portuguese                            Curtir

I’m sure you can all add to this list.

Another reason I like it when my blogging friends like my posts is that it reminds me to go check out their pages.  It’s hard to keep up with all of the good writing out there so that serves as a nice prompt.

Looking forward to liking more of your posts 🙂

***

Photo: A closeup of a cactus in bloom at a botanical garden in the southwest.  The feature image zooming-in is sort of other-worldly.  A friend described it as looking like an underwater organism – a sea creature.  An it does sort of look like a Sea Anemone.  The full view is below.  Amazing to see that flower with such exploding beauty thriving in desert conditions.  This is my analogy to the beauty of language in all it’s forms, unexpectedly breathtaking 🙂

Tohono Chul with Heather 4+C2

200th !!!

Back in June, I hit my 100th post.  And yesterday, with the posting of “Deployment Day,” I’ve made my 200th!  I think I’ll make a tradition of marking these milestones.  It’s good to take a few moments to reflect.

I enjoy writing about multiple topics but probably enjoy storytelling the most – telling stories of life.  And I’m happy to be getting some of these down on paper, well digitally.  You know what I mean.  Although they might seem rather random or scattered because they will involve both current and past experiences.  My mind constantly bounces around.   Nothing chronologically sequenced here.

I hope my daughter will be reading them and learning more about me too.  That was one of my regrets when my father passed away.  I would have liked to have heard more of his stories.  The ones he did share were quite amazing and I learned so much from him.

As you can see, on my Home page, I have a number of “pinned” articles at the top.  I rotate these periodically, usually highlighting articles that are the most popular.  Ones that received the most hits or most likes.  But that becomes sort of self-fulfilling.  By having them pinned to the opening page, they continue to get more reads.  So, I think I’ll start rotating other articles more frequently.  After all, we keep picking up followers and new followers might not have seen our earlier posts.

Writing is always fun and a challenge.  It’s kind of like a mental workout.  Like going to the gym.  The more you write, the stronger your writing becomes.  And over time, you start learning what your audience likes too.  It’s an experimental process.

I also find it challenging to pick photos for my stories.  I try to choose images that relate to the story itself.  A story within the story.  A symbolic representation.

There are things I’ve written that I think are ok, and others that I’m really happy with.  I’ll highlight some of my own favs  🙂

A big thank you to all of my followers.  I appreciate your visits and your insights.  I also appreciate your writing and continually enjoy discovering your wonderful posts.

I hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful day.

***

Photo: So I was struggling today to come up with an image representative of “200.”  Have to say I was at a bit of a loss.  Must be having a low creative energy day.  I settled on this crazy pic of a wine bottle label that I took at a rather unique shop in Oregon.  Sort of goes with the idea of something “vintage” or “aged.”  I didn’t sample the “Wild Squirrel Wine” while I was there, though 🙂

Squirrel Wine Label

Updates:  I do update articles occasionally, but I don’t think that necessarily pops them up in the WordPress Reader again so that anyone would know about them.  I last updated the article Balance on August 19th, but I just added an update to A Return to Tribalism today 🙂