Thinking outside of the Box March 2018

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Roosevelt the Blue Crab. At my day job, we ship lots of the cranky crustaceans every morning.  Roosevelt caught my attention because A) when the crabs do escape, they are very, very angry, and freak me out (I will chat about irrational fear in next month’s blog), and B) he reminded me to appreciate freedom and to acknowledge one’s life path.

Lucky little Roosevelt managed to get free from his brothers and sisters.  Whenever challenged, he wielded his sharp claws. I was too scared to put him back in his box so I asked one of my co-workers to help me.  Jokingly, my coworker gingerly picked him up and instead of Roosevelt being returned back with the others, he found himself perched on a yellow, 10 inch wide pole.  He got to see life as I do, my view of an open space with fresh air, instead of his view in a dark, cramped, smelly box.

Eventually he was put back in his box, safe and sound (no animals were harmed!).

The moment he sat on the pole made me think about how lucky I am.  Instead of being stuck with wherever life finds me at the moment, I have the freedom to challenge myself and I can encourage other people to do the same. I can change my view. There’s no way to escape the end of our path (poor Roosevelt couldn’t change his fate that he was going to be someone’s meal), but we can try to enjoy our path while we’re here.  We can appreciate moments like enjoying great conversation with a friend over a steamy cup of coffee. We can be brave and push ourselves to learn new things instead of sitting on the couch watching negative news. Chasing our dreams and working towards our goals, while still remembering to hug loved ones, makes our paths more interesting. Instead of daily grumbling about punching a time clock, I’m inspired to create stories for Grandmother Zenobia and the characters of Carrefour County.  I savor the times I get to binge watch Supernatural or something on Netflix, rather than feel guilty that I’m not “doing” anything. I no longer complain about being bored; I get out and walk, appreciating the sun on my face and the birds that fly in the sky.

Our paths are not easy; I’m pretty sure the Universe does that on purpose.  Delightful things, heartbreaking things, sweet things, and horrible things pop up all the time. I think it’s okay to be happy or sad, angry or fearful, as long as we experience those emotions and then move through them.  Life is meant to be experienced and savored, not disregarded or ignored.

So friend, I ask what will YOU do on your path? I’d love to hear about it!  When you are freed from your box, like Roosevelt the crab, I hope you have the time of your life.

 

Love Notes – February 2018

Almost every day, I take a brisk walk.  It doesn’t matter what my schedule is like. I walk at work, I walk at the gym, I walk when I plan to lounge around at home, and I even walk when I’m on vacation. Why the daily ritual?  It’s a way for me to shake off any negative energy that might cloud my day.  The cardio gets my blood pumping (which is definitely needed after creating dark stories and peculiar characters, letting words spill from my brain through my fingers, onto a keyboard). I also walk because my mother’s neurologist recommends doing 30 mins of exercise a day, or two and a half hours a week to fight the chances of getting dementia.  I love walking outdoors because helps fuel creative ideas that simmer in my head and keep me healthy.

The other day as I was on my last lap around the employee parking lot (I call work my muggle job, because it’s a great place but lacks magic for me), a seagull flew up  and perched a few yards away from me. I stopped in my tracks because I noticed something peculiar about this bird, who I shall name Sammy the Seagull. Sammy held a folded up, yellow Post-It in its beak.  If I didn’t know any better, I swear that my new friend was delivering a note.  I wondered, could seagulls carry messages like Carrier Pigeons? Did Sammy have a message specifically for me? Is Twitter down?

Great questions but, no, no and no. Sammy dropped the Post-It once she figured out it wasn’t edible and eyed me for a few moments before I walked on my merry way.  The discarded note reminded me of my dark fiction novel GYPSY KISSES AND VOODOO WISHES when young Will Jalio sends a message to the love of his life.  It was short and sweet. In the story, the words inspire his true love to follow her heart. 

Last year my father shared with me a beautiful letter my mom had written over 10 years ago.  He discovered it when doing some spring cleaning.  In the letter, she told of how ever since high school she loved my dad. I already knew that Dad always loved Mom; he would tell my sister and I how he clearly remembers the day he stood in a sandbox as a little boy, pointed at her and declared “that is the girl I’m going to marry”.  We’ve seen the yearbook where he signed it “Love, always and forever”.  My sister and I have a high standard of what we look for in a mate, thanks to the love my parents share.

But this letter Mom wrote?  It was a surprise! Its honesty was endearing.  As of November 2017, my parents have been married for 50 years.  Today, Mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know what day it is, let alone who are her family members.  The heartfelt words, written years ago, gave my dad an extra spark of life.  He knows she loves him, even if she can’t say it often, and this discovery was a beautiful reminder that what they have is very real.

I should mention that all notes don’t have to be romantic.  I constantly try to remind friends (in person and through social media) that I appreciate them.  Sometimes at work I randomly leave little silly notes for a few coworkers, just to get them to laugh.  I love to torture my sister with corny Haiku poems or scribbles on napkins that say “TAG you’re it”.  It’s a treat to see how the smallest of gestures can have an impact on people.

The saying “It’s the thought that counts” means a lot to me. Communicating with others in a positive way matters because words have power and meaning.  I bet Sammy the Seagull didn’t know how it affected my day.  Thanks for the note, Sammy.  I’ll see you and your cousins on my next walk.