Spring is coming & with it spring cleaning. I started my spring cleaning a bit early. It started the day I decided to refill a soap dispenser in my kitchen. I had it about half full of Dawn dish soap when I accidentally knocked it of the counter. Most of it (and the jar which held it) landed by my feet, upside down, of course. I was able to scoop a lot of it up with a couple of spatulas, but a puddle of blue soap remained on the floor. There was also a nice spill line reaching across a cupboard, front of the dishwasher, bag of the wastebasket, an area of faux wood flooring, over to a wall on the other side of the kitchen. It would have made a nice spill study for a crime scene investigator. Paper towels, wet dish rag, and later a mop and bucket of water, got the mess up. Getting all the little soap suds up was challenging. Anyway, this incident sparked me into tackling other areas of the kitchen which needed some attention.

Soap has Virusbeen getting a lot of attention the past few days. I was happy to learn from googling “soap” that it can actually destroy the Coronavirus. See New York Times article. It just takes a little time, therefore why one needs to wash their hands for 20 seconds. I loved the diagrams showing how soap does this with its hydrophobic tail. Hand washing is so important in deterring the spread of this virus.

Soap is a hero, along with all the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other first responders who are risking their lives to help the rest of us. Rainier, my husband, and I want to shout a big “Thank you!”

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” — George Bernard Shaw.

Family is important. It is where you are nurtured to become a happy, emotionally stable adult. When an infant, your cerebral system is still developing. Feeling safe in your mother’s or father’s arms is important so you can focus your energy on the development of this system. How your parents respond to you throughout your life through non-verbal cues, are as, if not more, important then the quality of your physical needs being met. I recall fun times growing up seem to be when we played board games, cards, or a more outdoorsy game like badminton or croquet. We got to be silly and laugh at times. We each had our own strengths and weaknesses, but we were accepted as we were.

As adults, at family get togethers, we tend to tell stories. Telling funny stories, reminiscing about things which happened in the past, was how I learned things about the family that I never knew before, or got to hear how someone else remembered something differently. Nonetheless, it is a time of bonding, of feeling happy and secure.

One can also feel like belonging to a family in groups, such as volunteer organizations. If a group falls apart, it can be like losing a family. I am currently trying to help keep a couple Toastmaster clubs going.

When a loved one passes, we are blessed to have our memories of them. My Aunt Elda kept a very neat house and her pies looked and tasted perfect. (My mom kept up with her older sister very well with house keeping and pie baking.) Aunt Elda did a great job of keeping in contact with grandchildren, nieces, and all. She bought a copy of my first book and was always asking me how the second one was going. (My husband says she was more interested in how I was doing.) She, herself, (with the help of one of her son’s) wrote a history of life on the farm where she, her two brothers, and younger sister grew up. My husband got the call from my oldest sister today that Aunt Elda had passed away. I am fortunate to have had a loving aunt with which to share my life.Aunt Elda

My husband and I went to the Cincinnati Zoo last Saturday to see the penguin walk. The zoo has this event on weekends during the the winter months when it is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below. It was in the upper thirties; a nice sunny day. Many people came out for this. Lots of parents with children; some strollers with babies. Everyone took pictures (with their cell phones). My husband and I got a glance of some of the penguins waddling by, amongst several zoo personnel who were there to make sure the penguins remained safe. This day, the penguins walked to the Tiki Hut and back to their Wings of the World exhibit.King Penguin

In the penguin exhibit, we got to meet a King penguin named Burger. He stood on a rock (island) surrounded by water in which some of the other penguins were swimming and diving around. He had earned the right to stand there as long as he wants, according to one of his caregivers. Burger is 37 years old, the oldest penguin at this zoo. The baby penguins are kept in a nursery. If one could see them, they would see young penguins look soft and fuzzy, covered with a layer of down.

Today, Google is honoring John Tenniel, the illustrator of Alice In Wonderland. It will be exciting to see how the illustrator of my next book illustrates penguins.

Most of us have to work at being healthy. We have to develop good habits if we want a strong immune system. We have had a long cold/flu season starting in October of last year through this February. I have had my share of colds during it. My husband is trying to get over a nasty bug. I’ve been fixing him chicken noodle soup and such. Tonight I served baked chicken, potato, carrots and cut up fresh fruit (antioxidants). We even sprinkled garlic which has antimicrobial and antiviral properties (something I learned on the internet today) over our food. When I feel a cold coming on, I take vitamin C and try to get plenty of rest. Plenty of rest helps fight off infections. Drinking plenty of water helps to wash toxins out of our bodies. It also helps to moisten our mouths and nasal passages which probably helps us deal with congestion and sore throats better. Washing your hands frequently helps one avoid germs in the first place or spreading your germs to others.

It is important to keep warm and dry. I learned that lesson while in Florida a couple of years ago. While I was there, I didn’t have an umbrella with me. I ended up having to walk through a monsoon to get back to the hotel where my husband and I were staying. I used to think that getting deathly sick in a rainstorm only happened in romance novels while riding on horseback. On that Florida trip, I got to buy some polka dot goulashes. I think I was wanting to relive my childhood when I bought them. We are only young once, but it doesn’t hurt to pretend.

Time for bed. I must get my healthy sleep. (I’m a little too old to call it my beauty sleep!)

RainierMay you have a happy Valentine’s Day. May your day be full of of Valentines from people who love you for who you are. May you let go of any anger you’ve been holding on to. May you love yourself. No one is perfect, but you are loved just the way you are. May you be inspired to do something for yourself and others. May you enjoy some down time, time to goof off, time to explore, time to learn, see or do whatever you want. May you enjoy the simple joys of life. If you are disorganized like me, may you be inspired to straighten part of your house up . . . and get satisfaction from doing so, or just throw the dust to the wind. Enjoy a candlelight dinner with a tablecloth. (Flameless candles might be appropriate.) Enjoy some cheesecake with fresh strawberries. A box of chocolates. You can do it! 

Love,
Rainier, Mr. Gray, Aunt Patty, Joy and Noel from Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey

P.S. If Valentine’s Day is over, no problem. Pick another day.

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards. They try to have more things or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” — Margaret Young.

It is popular to think of an owl being wise. In Ancient Greece theOwl owl was often associated with the goddess Athena who became associated with arts and wisdom, so owls became associated with wisdom. If I were to use an owl as a character in one of my books, I would probably have it say, “Whooo are you?” We all need to ask this question of ourselves periodically in our lives as we continue to have experiences, grow, and change. What do you need to do? A couples of days ago, I needed to pay my bills. (It felt good to get all the checks in the mail.) I also mailed another a Valentine’s Day card to my husband who’s been working out of town. (We must nurture our relationships.) I exercised and scheduled some doctor appointments. (Health.) Taking time to work on blog. (To promote my business.) I am sure you can think of many things you can do in order to work towards having what you want. Some hospice patients in a study on wisdom were asked what they wanted. Some said, “To enjoy everyday life. To cherish the gifts of life.” ( I’m assuming they were referring to the gifts you don’t need money to buy.)

I hope you were able to garner a nugget of wisdom from my blog. An older and wiser acquaintance of mine suggested, with a twinkle in his eye, the owl character in my book could say, “I don’t give a hoot!” (Humor. What would we do without it?)

Ground Hog DaySuper Groundhog Day. Light snowflakes were falling at 7:28 a.m. this morning in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania when the famous groundhog emerged from his tunnel. A group of men all decked out in black coats and top hats were present as one of them held Punxsutawney Phil high up in the air with one hand while another gentleman read an announcement to a crowd of thousands of fans. Phil didn’t see his shadow . . . which means an early spring. The crowd cheered.

Groundhog Day falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Saying it is a clear day only if the groundhog sees his shadow is a German tradition. My husband’s ancestors are from Lithuania and Germany. Also, he is a naturalist who grew up in Pennsylvania. All which make Groundhog Day his favorite holiday. I need to ask Hallmark to make some happy Groundhog Day cards.

Is the 02/02/2020 Super Bowl overshadowing Groundhog Day? Not if you are from my household. Though, I did enjoy watching Hallmark’s kitten bowl.

Bottom line, it is nice to have holidays or events to cheer about. Take the time. Don’t let work or your bothers overshadow it. Life’s too short.

It’s a new day, a new year and a new decade! What is your 2020 vision? To refresh our memories, the definition of vision is:

  1. The faculty or state of being able to see.
  2. The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

I would also like to refresh our memories of the definition of envision. It means: to imagine as a future possibility; visualize. 

The occipital lobe, in the back of our heads, is responsible for vision and actually visualizing scenes never actually witnessed before. I think visualizing with wisdom is key to success. We need to figure out what steps we need to take to reach our goals. Taking the first step is monumental. It marks the moment you decide you are going to reach your goal. 

Athletepole vaulters have used visualization for a long time to build their strength, confidence, and results. The pole vaulter imagines him or herself clearing the bar even before he/she starts running towards it.  

What successes do you see, hear, smell, taste, and/or feel yourself reaching? You can ask for help. Celebrate your successes no matter how small. Learn from your mistakes. May you have a happy and healthy new year!

 

Sometimes we have to play catch up. I got behind in my blogs. Being behind in blogs is not unheard of. I am sure you know of others who have fallen behind in blogging. Apologies are made. All is forgiven. The blogger starts blogging again. Life gets hectic sometimes. We have to rush or push ourselves to get things done. Then comes the well earned holiday time off. Sometimes we plan to get a lot done on a holiday. During these days off we still need to decide what is most important to do with our time. Hopefully taking breaks, spending time with family, and doing somethings just for fun, become more of a priority. Working in some to do’s which mean a lot in the long run, like having a photo taken of you and your spouse and/or family which you can plan to include in your Christmas cards, become a priority as do holiday traditions. So, be wise. Enjoy your holidays to their fullest. Then round them out with some catch up tasks. You’ll be more refreshed and be able to look at them in a new light. Enjoy your holidays . . . catching up with family, friends and tasks.

Sometimes we need a project manager to come into our lives and ask us “So, what is holding you back? What is the next step you need to take to get things moving? When are you going to get this step done?” I had a task which needed to be done that I had been putting off. I was afraid of the possible problems I would have to deal with in order to get it done. I ran into some problems the previous time someone else and I tried to begin working on this project. Also, being somewhat disorganized, I knew it was going to take some time straightening up to find info I had collected previously. Fear was holding me back. Also, other tasks had been competing for my time. With a push from a project manager, I looked for some open time on my schedule. I had a car appointment lined up. I knew I would have some quiet time as I waited for the work on my car to get done. I grabbed my iPad to take with me to the appointment. While in the waiting room, I was able to search my emails and to my surprise, was able to find the info I needed without having to try to connect with someone on the phone. It was the key info I needed to get the ball rolling on the project. I then made a plan of action, what I was going to do if this or that was or wasn’t going to happen on my way to reaching my goal. The next day, I was able to reach my goal. I was glad I had a little push from a project manager. Thank you, Project Manager.