friendship

A Beautiful Day for a Cup

Today was a beautiful fall day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just the right average temperature to me.

I had to run an errand and hit up the local Starbucks to get my first holiday cup of the season. A creme brûlée in the pretty holiday cup. A definite favorite of mine.  I savored each sip. I marveled at this year’s holiday cup. I smiled. I sighed. I reflected on the little cup and how much joy it brought me. I even enjoy the little crystal bits that are sprinkled on top. They slide right through the cup opening for a sweet surprise. I snapped a few pics and sent one to a friend that is miles away but we unite each year around the holiday cup. It’s a little weird but fun to see who goes first each year. It’s also super cute to have a long connection over a holiday cup that makes us think of each other after many years. Another smile is on my face. 

It might sound a bit corny but the cup of joe hit the spot. A sweet treat. A nice way to enjoy the fall air on a Sunday with not a care in the world.

 I recently got an electronic gift card for Starbucks. It was a great surprise and motivator. Today I gifted another to see if the effect would be the same. Since Covid is infectious and a downer in communities let’s flip the switch and donate a holiday cup to a friend who may need a pick me up. Sure Starbucks doesn’t need the money but the people working there need jobs and your friend could be inspired by the gift of generosity.

Pass on a cuppa cheer this week. You will feel good knowing you shared happiness for about $5.  I will probably get another tomorrow or the next morning to see if it hits the spot the same way. Bring on the holidays.

mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.

working women

A Day in the Life (These Days)

People sometimes ask me if I like my job.

My answer used to be an enthusiastic “yes!” How can I not love a job filled with reading to kids, writing with kids, doing research and helping them grow into readers and learners?

These days my answer is different. Lukewarm, at best. I get up and go to my school every required day. But I am not excited about it right now. What used to be a positive, welcoming place is now filled with “spread out!” and “don’t touch!” Books turned in are quarantined in a special room on carts until they’re safe to touch.

Instead of kids drifting in and out of my classroom throughout the day, they can only come to the media center once a week during their assigned time slots. They come in, stay in line, sit down in the distanced chairs.

They watch my whole, real face tell them a story on video while they browse tables of books with their eyes, not hands. (I no longer have a clerk to assist me, so I “clone myself” with a video screen.) If students want me to open a book, I prop it on a random page then keep moving. When they have their selections they head to the desk. I scan a barcode instead of them typing their own numbers. No touching! Then they return to the exact same seat.

Instead of laughter, the most prevalent sound is the *psst* *psst* *psst* of food contact surface spray. I scrub. I shuffle books. Gloves on. Mask on. Smiling with my eyes as best I can.

I miss my job. I miss spontaneity. I miss special projects. I miss idle chat that leads to great ideas. A few fewer rules. A few more smiles.

A highlight of the week is when I do carside book delivery to the digital learners. Some drop by twice a week. Sometimes I get to wave to the kids in the back seat and tell them I miss them. Last week a parent held up her phone so I could Facetime with her son, waiting at home for more books. I’m not the only one who is missing something.

Or the other afternoon when I had a spur-of-the-moment takeout picnic with my daughter at the park. As I was leaving I heard a girl’s voice scream in excitement “YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER! YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER!” Then her little sister, a new kindergarten student, joined in the hollering. We waved excitedly. From a distance. Even with the mask, they still see me and I still see them.

I’m determined to stay positive and try to keep connecting to kids at a time when everything is about separation. When the kids watch me tell a story and laugh at the right parts, I know I am still reaching them through all the rules and rigamarole.

The Roaring 20s, I tell myself. The Roaring 20s.

perspective

Timing

I am finding myself reflecting a lot about time lately. What do I do with my time? Who do I spend time with? What do I need to spend time on? What do I not need to spend time on?

Oddly enough I ran into a very special person at the gym this morning. I hadn’t seen her in a while. Pre-corona to be exact. So four months or so. Not forever but a long time these days. I hadn’t noticed she dropped off social media and our schedules hadn’t overlapped. How did I miss something so obvious? Maybe I let negative time get in my way.

What a pleasant surprise to see her. Then the notion of time surfaced and how she avoids social media due to its impact on her mental state. She stated she got more done not worrying about who looks at what or who says what online. That got me thinking again about time.

Time is precious. How you use it. Who you spend it with. How valuable time matters. Your time matters. My time matters. My time belongs to me not others. I get to choose how I spend my time.

I can do something or nothing. I can be in the sunshine or the darkness. It doesn’t really matter as long as I’m happy with my time investment. Are you content where your time is spent?

As I wrap up this rant on time, I will say I often have to reflect in order to take back what time is mine. Sometimes I allow others to use my time for their benefit. When I do this most take advantage. I have to be aware of my time and it’s value to me because at the end of the day nobody donates time to me.

Does anyone steal your time? How much time do you spend on social media? Is it a need? Is it a want? Can you do without? Time is precious. Spend it wisely.

friendship

Riding Free

This weekend I went for a bike ride. A different kind of bike ride than I normally post about.

The bike is still red but it’s a Motorcycle vs a self-propelled bike. An Indian bike to be specific. I got the chance to ride with a couple of pals and we left early before the heat of the sun was upon us. A quick breakfast at a local spot before we hit the road.

We headed straight for the mountains. I was a passenger so I was in the observation seat. The seat that allows you to take in all the sights, sounds and smells. Care free for the most part. Sometimes it’s nice to just be a passenger. A mindless passenger with no role aside from hold on!

I was specific on the type of ride I was willing to go on. A smooth ride, not a windy switchback ride. That meant we took a scenic route. It was pleasant.

Smelled a lot of fresh cut grass, some cow poop, some yummy baked goods and a little bbq. Got to see some rolling hills, pretty pastures, old and new barns, donkeys, ponies, horses, cows, chickens and a few dogs.

I waved to many people sitting on their porches and gave the side wave to many motorcycles as we passed. I heard lots of birds chirping, a few sirens, a couple of horns and as we passed through a town I heard people.

The sound of people was far less in this tourist town than usual. Maybe only 25% of the normal seasonal volume. It was a bit eerie. The sounds were also muffled as many wore masks. One notable sight was the tubing bus that passed us to head to the river. It was full of people but each and every one had masks on. Talk about a new normal. Below is a quick text break photo op. Got to make sure our connections know all is good when on the road.

By the time the tubers escaped the bus the masks were gone but for that bus ride they were mandatory. It was also noticeable that the parking lot for this normally full tubing place was desolate. I saw one bus load vs. the 10 that would normally pass. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people were struggling in this small town financially due to the pandemic and loss of tourist revenue.

We took a rest at the little town. It was getting hot so we got some water and a snack of beef jerky. I normally like to go into the jerky stores to sample the different flavors to try something new. Not this time. No samples! Thanks again covid. however, I was happy to buy some mystery jerky and support a small business in the area.

As I rode free, I took in the sites, the sounds, the smells and the new normal. Masks and all. I had a great time but it was different sitting in the observation seat this time. I just got to see the new normal from a different lens. This gave me a new perspective.

Safety first with helmets but no masks for these girls on this ride. We had a ton of fun which means we will probably have more bike adventures. Watch out for biker babe stories coming in the future.

Who knows what town we might ride into next……