Tag Archives: Attitude

Thanksgiving 2017

Suddenly the weather’s turned blustery and cold

Leaves that were just green say ‘Gosh, I feel old’!

They shrivel up, blow and slowly flutter –

They fall here and there, they clog up the gutter.

 

Thanksgiving is hours away – defrost the turkey,

Pull out the Pilgrims, traditional and quirky.

Gather the far-flung family, yes, even those who can be rather jerky.

 

Circle them ‘round though this year’s been full of chaos, fear and discord

(At least we know no one should claim to be bored)

This is the best time to put some thought into gratitude –

Genuine thankfulness – enough with the platitudes!

 

There certainly is a long list of recent strife

And maybe Aunt Sarah shouldn’t talk to Uncle Bob when he has the carving knife

But now is the moment we should take to say thanks for the good in our life.

 

A Hearty and Heartfelt Wish for a Plentiful and Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

 

© 2017 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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Niceties and Curiosities

“Beauty gives you peace, wherever you encounter it in the world.”

~Jens Jensen

 

A variety of events, occasions and articles have formulated into this post. I am in the midst of binge watching season 5 of Downton Abbey before it is no longer streaming on PBS.org, I read an article that 5/3 bank commissioned a study of our impatience as part of their new marketing campaign (we are a terribly impatient crowd), and I have stumbled back upon these unrelated quotations that I am using in this post and they helped my disparate thoughts to gel. Plus other bits of mental flotsam and jetsam.

 

Downton is set in a time that was more mannered than our own, not a time that was simpler (though we like to imagine that past times were simpler than our own, because we crave simplicity), but also a time when there were stricter class distinctions.  Courtesy ruled interactions, decorum was de rigueur, and while class might have locked you in place it also told you where you stood.

 

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

~Mother Teresa

 

When the societal changes after WWI started to gather strength, somehow courtesy was weakened with the loosening of class structure.  We have lamented the increasing lack of common courtesy for a very long time, it seems. But still niceties can be more like curiosities these days.  Since solutions have to start somewhere, I work to stay conscious of my own level of courtesy.  There are times when strangers are almost amazed when I have held a door for them.  Not just pleased or thankful, but stunned from complacency.

 

public domain image

public domain image

My local grocery chain is running a promotion right now that I am not participating in, though I have gotten dishes and cookware from past promotions.  When I’m asked if I am participating, I check with the person behind me in line and if they are I say that I am and give them the tokens.  It is a little thing, but it makes us both feel good.  I have been the beneficiary of such gestures in those past promotions.

 

These are tiny little connections with my fellow humans that I only wish could be more frequent.  Sometimes I am too deep in a reverie and I miss opportunities, which is unfortunate. Perhaps a part of our general impatience is just the fact that we have too many interactions with others that are lacking in any connection. Sometimes the opposite happens, I walk into the store frustrated and out of sorts at the end of a long day and by that simple act of sharing those tokens and making eye contact I walk out feeling better about the world.

 

© 2015 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Waiting Patiently, Part 2

Patience – endurance, fortitude, perseverance, persistence, forbearance, resignation…  Do any of us have enough of this trait in any given moment of our days?  I like this definition: ‘an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay’.  Ah, a willingness to suppress – this implies that, if I want to, I can nurture this trait in myself.

 

Curiosity doesn’t have much patience with obstacles – it wants to know, and it wants to know right now.  Or wants to be or have or feel or experience…  Right now.

 

Having children requires a person to cultivate patience, Herculean patience in the face of unexplainable infant fury.  Empathy for their misery led me finally to patience.  It was my job to use my curiosity to understanding their needs and meet them if I could.  And soothe if I couldn’t.  Soothing requires patience.  Which comes in handy when the endless questions come, then the pushing of boundaries…

 

Gardening requires patience.  Plants grow even more slowly than children, but thankfully don’t have hours-long crying jags or want to know why.  I have one houseplant that I bought back in 1986 that is still going.  (My former mother-in-law even revived it from the mild frost-bite it got on a cross country trip.)  What will thrive, or make-do, or perish?  Why?  Patience is necessary to get these answers.

 

In our vegetable gardening this year, we are watching the tomatoes form and we are full of questions.  Impatient questions – how will they taste, when will they be ready?  Patient questions will get us there – how much sun, how much water?

DSC03854

Diligence is part of the definition of patience.  This one I understood from childhood on – because of its importance to structure and process and ritual.  Curiosity can’t really be sated without some understanding and application of methodology.  Where would I fit the new information if I didn’t have a means to categorize it in with the information that I already possess?  Diligence comes in handy to retain the information or experience that curiosity prompted.

 

Timing is an important component.  We bought the tomato plants in May, already a couple of inches tall, knowing that tomatoes wouldn’t actually be ready until sometime in August.  Now that it is August, the patience is wearing a little thin.  The ability and willingness to suppress our restlessness for our homegrown tomatoes is getting harder to apply.  But more crucial to a successful outcome.

 

There are so many places and instances where I can apply this patience I have learned, am learning.  At work, while driving, in line, when I’m out of sorts…

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Waiting Patiently, Part 1

We decided to try our hands at a bit of vegetable and herb gardening again this year after a several year hiatus.  We just got a few things and put them in pots because I still haven’t settled on a ‘landscape design’ for the back yard.  (There is the one in my dreams that includes a 3 season room/conservatory, a patio, a beautiful new fence and award winning plantings…)  The last time I tried to raise a tomato plant I put it on the west side of the house and it got burnt and spindly and we managed to reap a single tomato from the poor thing before it became compost.

 

I think that I’ve learned a bit since then.  We’ll see if I have learned enough.  Now our tomato plants live on the south side of the house and are currently full of promise – about 18 tomatoes are developing between the two plants.  We also have peppers, mint and oregano.  We had basil, but a random wind burst blew a chair onto it and now it is in the process of dying.

 

We are already realizing that the herb books we possess have gaps – like when and how to harvest.  Perhaps the writer assumes we know this part…  In which case he or she is wrong.

 

I am enamored of the idea of gardening – decorative and produce.  I have a stack of gardening books that I look at and reference periodically, some practical and some fanciful.  Reading about our founding father’s deep interest in gardening, as gentlemen gardeners I realized that is around my level.  I want to talk about it, think about it, enjoy it and just occasionally do the heavy parts.  Plant something here, pull a weed there, rely upon thick layers of mulch to prevent weeds and help retain moisture.  Unfortunately I don’t have the financial resources to pull off this sort of gardening.

 

Watering is a Zen activity that falls happily in my version of gardening.  Some days the plants have to wait patiently while I participate in other activities and interests, though.

DSC03847

Gardening is perfectly suited to the acquisition of knowledge – it is forgiving of novice mistakes if you start slowly and allow for changes in plans.  Gardening is helping me to practice the patience that I have mostly lacked in other parts and earlier stages of my life.

 

You’ll have to excuse me now, I feel the need to go take a tour through the yard.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

There Will Be Exasperation

I’ve just sat down and gotten comfortable, so of course the dog now wants to go out.  This is exasperating.

 

Picking up one too many things to put back in their proper place, so everything slides and clangs and rolls away on the floor.  This is exasperating.

 

Dropping one of my earrings as I walk out of my room and put them on at the same time because I am already pressed for time.  This is exasperating.

DSC03760

Going just a little too long between meals, trying to do that one more thing when tired, being unable to stretch just that tiny touch more to grab something needed when constrained – these are exasperating.

 

Being unable to retrieve the word that I want, or remember the association that would fit well into a conversation, or find that mosquito that buzzes in my ear when the lights are off and I am just about asleep.  Exasperating.

 

Having someone bring in dirty dishes just as I finish up in the kitchen.  Grrr.  Having the phone ring a couple of minutes before the end of the work day.  REALLY??

 

Vexing, infuriating, aggravating, inflammatory things happen every day, plenty of times per day to rankle each and every one of us.

 

Thankfully there is also laughter and beauty and kindness.  The dog wags her tail and smiles at me when I grumblingly go over to let her out and shortly thereafter let her back in.

 

I don’t have any interest in spending my hours feeling indignant much of the time.  I can remind myself to eat in a timely manner to stave off those blood sugar dips that result in a foul mood.

 

It’s a mind game that I can play better some days than others.  How about you?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Maturity Doesn’t Preclude Enthusiasm

My son’s dog likes to remind me that there is always a place for enthusiasm.  We think of her as a puppy, but we recently noticed the gray coming in on her chin which is supposed to be a sign of maturity.  When she likes something or someone, she really likes them and everyone knows it.  And she likes a lot of things.

 

I enjoy a walk around the neighborhood to get fresh air, exercise and ideas from other people’s gardens.  (And it is a good time to think.)  I let her come with me.  (I do not take her for walks, let me be clear.  Because she is not my dog.)  She knows she is only allowed to go if she behaves herself.  She must start by waiting calmly while I put on my shoes.  Far enough away that I can get my shoes on without conking her in the head with my foot when I raise and lower it.  Or trying to give me kisses when I bend down to get my shoe.  Then she is supposed to calmly let me put on her harness without licking me.  Then she is supposed to go calmly to the door and wait to the side while I go out first.  Lastly she is supposed to wait calmly while I shut the door.

pleading eyes

But she just really likes to go for walks and she wants to make certain that I know how happy it makes her that I am preparing for a walk.  Even if this delays the start of the walk while she gets hold of herself.

 

It is good to have a constant reminder that life is better when you have things that make you feel all wiggly.  There is plenty on the mature side of life that draws the enthusiasm right out of a person.  It should just help us to enjoy things more, but for too many people these things seems to mean the preclusion of enthusiasm entirely.  I think maybe I should send them on a walk with my son’s dog.  She’d love to go.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Staying Calm

Someone went in the basement of a government office in England a couple of years ago and found themselves a gold mine by unearthing a WWII slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. With my tagline on my old blog being Reasonable Expectations, which is along the same vein, you probably believe that I find the phrase has plenty of merit.  And I do believe in the sentiment.  (I almost bought a plaque myself when I first saw one in a catalog because it is a pithy and practical mantra.)

 

Google search of keep calm and...

Google search of keep calm and…

But ever since I was told the first time as a child in a tizzy about some long forgotten irritation to ‘calm down’ I have thought that is the most useless phrase in the English language.  In the history of the world the number of people who have actually calmed down just based on being told to do so might be legitimately calculated at one.  In my experience, both personal and observed, it is more likely to be equated to waving a red flag in front of a bull.

 

But, since chronologically we are all adults, we do need to temper our tempers.  We are civilized after all, aren’t we?  Therefore we must find a means within ourselves to defuse any mounting irritation, frustration, anger, or rage before it gets the better of us.  Before we get into full tantrum mode.  And there is plenty to be frustrated about – businesses seem to create rules for the specific purpose of frustrating their customers.  Or, knowing a particular time of day is a high volume time there will only be 2 cashiers with a long row of empty checkout stations and a longer row of people who have somewhere else to be.

 

Anyway, back to defusing frustration.  Reminding myself to breathe is a good mantra – have you ever noticed that your breath is shallow and rapid which makes your pulse get shallow and rapid?  And your shoulders head north toward your ears?  I can’t make the store bring out some more cashiers, but I can make myself breathe more deeply and shake out my shoulders until they are back where they belong.  And try not to listen while the man behind me tells the woman he is with to calm down.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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