Yesterday was Groundhog's Day. Every hog has its day, I suppose. But I have been wondering about all the hoopla surrounding this subterranean creature seeing his shadow (or not) every February 2nd and why we should care. Well, bottom line, we probably shouldn't care all that much. The track record of Punxsutawney Phil is rather unimpressive if you ask me. And the fact that the first day of spring comes six weeks after February 2nd, doesn't make Phil such a miraculous sooth-sayer. But for more information on Phil, click here.
What occurs to me upon contemplating the lore and myth surrounding this marmota monax (scientific name) is our fascination with trying to predict the future. Yep, I think that's about explains it all. We seem to want to know what's coming down the pike. Of course, if you are in our more frozen sections of the country, you are hoping for early relief from shoveling snow and dressing like denizens of the North Pole. Bottom line, we all think we would like to be able to predict tomorrow and thereby somehow control it.
Well you can't!! No way no how. BUT remember, what you do and how you live today lays the groundwork for your personal future and how your life develops and eventually turns out. We are, after-all, writing our own life-stories, day by day.
So there you have it. My two cents on what the groundhog knows...and what he knows ain't much. But he sure does know how to be the center of attention even if it is for just an annual 15 minutes of fame. Sometimes that's all you get. Oh, ya, and just to be clear, this predicting end of winter/beginning of spring thing...who's idea was that? Probably not the wily woodchuck, our little friend, the groundhog.
February is here. Tata January. If you were going to start the New Year right, February is your 2nd chance.
I kinda like February. Shortest month, it deserves some respect. Also in the northern hemisphere, it is the last full month of winter. (March's first three weeks are still winter, but trying I am to be positive).
So here's to February. I am motivated to make the month of Ground Hogs, Valentines and Past Presidents a good one. If one plays their cards right, each day can be a sort of do-over in case one didn't get it right the first time. That's February. A time to follow through on the promises of a New Year that hasn't quite yet lost its innocence.
Some interesting things about February
Violets signify watchfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness.
Give a violet to someone to let them know you’ll always be there for them. Violets signify watchfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness.
Middle English feverer, from Old French feverier, based on Latin februarius, from februa, the name of a purification feast held in this month. The spelling change in the 15th century was due to association with the Latin word.
The word February comes from the Roman festival of purification called Februawhere people were ritually washed. There is a Roman god called Februus, but he is named after the festival, not the other way around.
Leftover Pizza Epiphany with a Side of Broccoli, Followed by Gelato & Peanut Butter Pretzels, TV & Netflix
Didn't exactly feel like cooking for dinner. Had a slice of lunch's leftover vegetarian pizza from deMatteo's so I warmed it up. Then I felt the need for something green. Fresh broccoli, steamed in the microwave! Then I had a small bowl of Breyer's Decadent Indulgences chocolate caramel gelato. This is what you can eat when you live alone and your canine companions have their own dietary regimen.
I watched this morning's recording of CBS Sunday Morning. Loved the story about bubbles and all their intricacies. Enjoyed the feature on 89 year old Marilyn May whose singing career has been reborn. Fast forwarded through the stories of Elton John and Neil Diamond retiring from touring. Neil will be right away, Elton at the end of a world tour he is just starting. Also fast-forwarded through the re-visiting of the Tet Offensive of 1968. Career wind-ups and old wars were not something I wanted to think about tonight.
The above was followed by episodes three and four of season four of Frankie and Grace. Netflix and no-chill as they say, sort of. Another evening, this one happened to be Sunday, in the life of a single man resisting the senior citizen label while embracing all its circumstance. Who me? Old? Well, if the orthopedic shoe fits, wear it.
Not sure how I went from a rather eclectic dining experience that could really happen to any bachelor on any given evening to "yipes, I'm slipping into that long good-night" thing. I don't feel old. Not even sure how that's supposed to feel. But age is indeed relative. And to it, I am not relating right now. (Laugh here.) The nice thing of living alone while aged is you can ruminate on all this to your heart's content. And you can eat choose to eat leftover pizza anytime of day, hot or cold, without anyone knowing...or caring. And that's a good thing, isn't it?
Like everything in this life, there's an upside and a downside. And the funny thing is I'm not unhappy. I'm actually pretty content. And contentment is okay. But I'm thinking I mustn't be lulled into complacency by it. I still have a lot of life to experience and things to do. So it's almost ten. Time to get to bed so I can rise and do just that bright and early...however early I choose that to be.
Random Thoughts and Musings Catching Up On This and That
This was apparently a contest sometime in the past. But as I do some random thoughts and musings, I have to wonder, how to you "happy"? I'd like to know....
Every so often I go for a bit without posting to this blog site and it bugs the bejabbers out of me. Bejabbers, it seems, "is a mild euphemistic oath used here as an intensifying noun." Overall, I would say bejabbers is something you would want bugged out of you.
But I digress. It's time for some random thoughts and musings, okay?
So I wanted to catch up a bit and that made me think of ketchup since it sounds like catch up. Thus the title here. Just a bit a silliness but I like it. Maybe you do to? Now, though, I'm craving some fries.
It's been an interesting start to the New Year. I have set some intentions for 2018 and some of them have bearing fruit...well, at least have buds on the trees. Now its just a matter of tending them. Water, maybe some plantfood or fertilizer. You know, doing what it takes to make these intensions reality.
Travel. Road trips. A return to Italy. New England. Even Hawaii. All within the realm of possibility. What's stopping me? Well, I have been spending money like I have some. Some on necessaries around the house and the car. My little Ching Ching needed an unexpected surgery. And there were the so-called "frills" like a reupholstered sofa and a new smart phone. Sometimes the universe can be quite perverse. So I need to recover my financial equilibrium. I know the ebb will lead to flow once again. Usually does. And that's how it goes.
Writing: I am actually doing some writing. I wrote some poetry for the Inlandia Institute workshop I attend in Ontario. Not bad. Not great, but words on the page which mean a lot. And my memoir projects have been percolating up again. So any day like any pregnant project, it will demand to be born.
Photography: The month started off with a bang. A trip to Salton Sea. Interesting, fun and weird captures at places like Bombay Beach, Salvation Mountain, Slab City and East Jesus. These are all places on the east side of the sea. Really, lots to explore and stimulate your creativity. Or not. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the photographer.
So I guess what I'm saying here is that there is a lot to catch up on and probably to put ketchup on, too, if you think about it. Sometimes it takes a while to recover from dry spells. Ask any desert rat or prairie companion. Its all cyclical. Like fashion, if you wait long enough, everything that goes round comes round again.
And there you have it. Voila!
Nothing from nothing leaves nothing...it's elementary. But sometimes nothing is the only thing there is. And that is what I am coming up with today for a blog: nothing. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that nothing is stimulating the muse. The muse, as some might say, is out to lunch.
What do you do when you want to do something and nothing comes to mind? Do you do nothing? Or just anything? Sometimes something is better than nothing, kinda like this blog attempt right now, but sometimes it is better to just let it rest. The muse gets tired I suppose. And so do we. f
So I'm afraid that's all I have today. Maybe something will come of it. I certainly hope. It would be interesting to hear what you do to push through the nothing from nothing blues. Really. I'd like to hear.
Gotta love this song...really. Such an upbeat for a downbeat lyric. Loving me some Billy Preston. Take a listen. 1974 was a very good year.
With all that's going on in the world today, I have to wonder about some of the things that bug me to the point of being a "pet peeve". But I have to admit I am totally annoyed, disheartened, dismayed, distressed, and irritated at the number of abandoned shopping carts I see on my morning walk every day. Some days I count as many as ten. They are from CVS, Trader Joe's, Ralphs, Vons, all of which are within walking distance. What really ferments my grapes is when the carts are from the 99 Cent Store, Target, Stater Bros and Big Lots. Those stores are not within walking distance. In fact, some are two or three miles away. Egads.
Before you tell me I should report them to the Abandoned Cart Hotline, I must tell you, I have many times in the past. Eventually they are picked up. But I have to wonder about the cost of doing so and the damage, some, like to the one pictured below, to repair. Again, egads!
I don't have a solution. I do know some folks have no other way to transport their purchased goods home. Others unfortunate souls carry their remaining personal belongings in them as they search for shelter. It is a sad, sad situation.
Perhaps the answer is to have "cart corrals" stationed at various places in every neighborhood. You know, like the ones they have in most store parking lots. Would people use them? Some would. But, if you have visited any parking lot recently, you will see the poor carts shoved up on the curb or wedged between other carts in an empty parking slot or on the sidewalk...wherever and whenever they are no longer of use to the user.
Sigh. I know it is a first world problem. I know to expend energy nurturing this as a peeve, pet or not, it a total waste of time. Yet, I have to wonder what, if anything can be done? I think Target still has those wheels that lock up beyond certain point in their parking lot. I tend to park on the edge of the parking lot to avoid the congestion and competition for closer parking spots. I tell myself the exercise is good for me, and it is. But I have had the wheels lock up before I reach my car. Now are these things "peeve-worthy"? Perhaps. But like the poor abandoned shopping carts, my peevishness may just be misplaced or over-wrought. Still, all-in-all, it is a small burr under my saddle and for that reason, I declare it peeve-worthy.
Nathan Arizona , photographer
Abandoned Walmart Shopping Cart
Located in the old sheep tunnel that runs under Cedar City, Utah. This tunnel is still used by sheep herders and ranchers that run their herds through the passage to bypass the town. Length of tunnel is about two-thirds of a mile.
I've come to the conclusion its better, (maybe not best), to have a idea of where you are going before setting course. Now before you hale my wisdom and lift me up on your shoulders as some sort of hero, let me tell you, it isn't rocket science. Its just common sense. And, also, it is a lot of listening to that inner voice that knows exactly what it is you want and where you want to go.
So, there. It occurred to me as I was using my smart phone to navigate to a destination I hadn't been before. If I didn't have some sort of idea of where I was headed, GPS would have been absolutely no use to me. And asking Alexa or Siri to tell you, well, that's just silly. They may be filled with banks of knowledge, but they are not equipped. What they do know is how to spell equipped (no t) and occasion, (two c's, one s an no i after the a...I struggle with that each time!).
The bottom line, however, is if you want to set course and make your intention clear, you have to do some long hard thinking, soul-searching, visioning and whatever else it takes. You can, of course, fly by the seat of your pants and see where that lands you. That can be a real adventure, but will it really make your dreams come true?
With all this in mind, I am making it a point to cut the background noise down by turning off the TV or radio or any other streaming device, while pondering. Deep thought requires deep attention. Sitting in silence gives the inner voice a chance to be heard. Just this morning my inner voice said so. And thus I am writing this blog to set my intention to uncover my real intention in what I am going to do.
In the end, it will be whatever I have given my attention to that will manifest in my life as I come to know it. Now let me ponder that a while and get back to you/
The portrait above was in a store window in Venice with a series of similar cat and some dog portraits. I regret I do not know the artist.
I saw this sign at the East Jesus Artist Colony near Slab City just beyond Salvation Mountain near the Salton Sea. It feels so odd just writing all that because even when you are there, these places just don’t seem real. Its as if the end times came and this is what was left. Mad Max maybe, although I never saw the movie. It feels so post-apocalyptic, with people living in make-shift shelters, tents, very old, dilapidated RVs and vehicles and condemned structures strewn across the desolate country side. Yet there is life here.
This sign speaks to a spark that still lives, even here, at the end of the world (so it seems). And its hopeful, gentle words of inspiration speak to the heart and to the soul. The mind shall follow I would hope.
Not sure I will go back soon, but I will not soon forget my little day trip to another world beyond my understanding. It is foreign to me, yet somehow familiar.
Street Feather Project is an organization that puts positive, artful messages up all over the world, planting seeds of love and goodness along the way. Their credo is "Because we still believe we can change the world with our creativity. Art for all."
Funny thing, the New Year isn't waiting for me to get myself in gear. It is already the 8th, a full week gone in 52. Once a week is a worthy goal, I suppose. I had hoped for more, but I can settle for that. The bottom line, I guess, would be to answer the question: if not now, when?
I remember when I was in typing class in high school, (typing is learning by rote the keyboard of a typewriter and striking the keys without having to look striving for accuracy and speed. You may need to do a google search if you aren't familiar with what a typewriter is!), so, as I was saying, when I was in typing class, one of the drills we typed went: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. I remember typing it, sometimes when I didn't have anything else to type but wanted to practice. Another drill was the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. The latter was good because the sentence used every letter in the alphabet. I find myself wondering now if it would have been funnier to have a quick brown dog jump over a lazy fox?
In any case, this came to mind mainly because of the "Now is the time" reference. And if not now, when? Can't repeat that enough. Now is the time, the only time, we have. We can learn from the past and plan for the future, but we can only live in the present. Really.
So I am saying now, do it now. Sit down with your favorite writing medium and write. Doesn't matter what, just write. Eventually something will come of it. If photography is your thing, take pictures! In this day of digital image catchers as close at hand as our phone, there is no excuse. All mistakes and duplicates can easily be deleted. But you may just create a gem. Love to cook? Cook! Again, many mistakes can be eaten, leaving no evidence. Others are just comfy and cozy and feed the soul as well as nourishing the body.
I think you are probably getting my point. I really hope I am getting my point. Living in the want to just doesn't cut it. Do and you will be what you seek to be, a writer, a photographer, a cook or a myriad of other things your heart may desire. Let your mantra be Do be do be do.... Enough said. Now do it!
It's 8:30-ish PM on this first day of the New Year. I had many intentions for the first day of the New Year. I was going to write letters, do a blog, hike up Rubidoux, so on and so forth. Well, while I didn't do that, I did get some other things like take down most of the outside holiday lights, dis-assemble the Christmas tree and go for a long walk with Miguelito. Then I realized I had wanted to blog and to work my pictures, etc. First chance and it didn't go according to intention. Well, not exactly.
I am writing this little blog about January first. It is the first chance of 365 in the New Year we call 2018. And that says it right there: we call it 2018. It is our call. It is really rather arbitrary. Time is what we make of it. And if we don't make time for it, well, that's on us. And so the big thing here is, what is it???
Maybe that is what this year should be all about. I'm very good at putting "shoulds" upon myself. Why not one that is to my benefit, my betterment, my self-actualization. It is a chance everyday to be who we are and do what we want to do. So maybe some days are meant for putting away the trappings of the holiday now over. It may not be exactly wrong to not get it right, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
I think of myself as a Muser Extraordinaire. :)
All Materials Copyright by Rob McMurray QwerkiRob