A Toilet Paper Scarcity Story

Pixabay: stevepb. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.Two squares of toilet paper. That was it; two squares. There are some things you don’t realize you take for granted until you can’t.

I was visiting my daughter in Ecuador and went to use a public bathroom. A woman at the entrance took my coin and handed me two squares of T.P. That was my allotment, regardless of what nature delivered.

I suddenly couldn’t take T.P. for granted; not on this vacation. After that first experience—and confirmation by my daughter that T.P. was scarce here—I took to glomming onto any extra toilet-paper-type products whenever I came by them. A restaurant that offered paper napkins? Grab some. A grocery store that sold rolls of T.P.? Buy some.

It became standard operating procedure to try and keep extra paper in my pocket, to supplement that offered by the public facility. Still, even trying to plan, I’d hit periods where my pockets were empty as I went in search of a public bathroom, leaving me nervous as I approached. I’m traveling in a foreign country; my plumbing isn’t working so great. Am I about to enter a stall with a hearty supply of T.P. or only have two squares with which to work?

Sure, I’ve experienced that moment of panic when, mid-movement in a public bathroom, I suddenly realized there was no T.P. It’s a sucky feeling, but infrequent back home, and there’s often someone in the next stall who will willingly pass you some, because, well, there’s plenty of it.

Not in Ecuador. This was not something there was plenty of. Up until that moment I didn’t really think too much about T.P. If I did, it was a throw-away necessity, a plentiful household commodity.

Now? Now, I’m deeply grateful that I have plenty of T.P. in my life. As much as my little butt desires.

 

Photo source: stevepb on Pixabay


 

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Rabbit Update

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.After writing about the Rabbit Prophecy on March 31st, and putting a note by my clock-radio (a permitted reminder), I forgot to say Rabbit Rabbit on April 1st.

“Are you awake?” Bubba asked that morning at 2 a.m.  “Yeah,” I answered.

With that exchange, April’s good-luck rabbit-fortunes were derailed.

For these situations, should anyone ask, I have a trump card. I said Rapid Rabbit on January 1st, which covers the year. It’s my insurance policy.

“No, you have to say it each month for it to count,” my dad argues.

It turns out my dad also disagrees with my conclusion that Rabbit Rabbit was correct.

“No, no, no,” he said, after reading my blog and the Wikipedia post. “I don’t care what the internet says. It’s Rapid Rabbit. That’s how your mother and I always did it. That’s how we taught you.”

Rapid Rabbit was the way I always said it, and according to dad, was correct.

My sister had learned Rabbit Rabbit, and when she did her on-line sleuthing, that was correct.

We were both right, by different sources.

I’m glad to get this resolved. Again.

I still have to remember to do this the first of the month. But my options have expanded. Now, I’m confident the rabbit wand can be waved many ways.

One Rabbit, Two Rabbits, Three Rabbits, four.

Rapid Rabbit, Lapin Rabbit, It’s all rabbit lore.

 

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay


 

Rapid, Rabbit Rabbit

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.I don’t consider myself superstitious. Until I am. Then I do various things to avoid jinxing myself: knock on wood; keep umbrellas closed indoors; sidestep walking beneath a ladder.

I also, on the first of a month, start the day off with the words “Rapid Rabbit.”

Talking with my sister today, she reminded me that tomorrow is “Rabbit Rabbit” day.

“Wait, did you say Rabid Rabbit?” I asked her.

Continue reading “Rapid, Rabbit Rabbit”

It Wasn’t Just an Avocado

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It wasn’t just an avocado. It was an instant of attentiveness, of being awake to a moment in life I usually sleep through. Were I not blogging, I likely would’ve slept through that moment. Instead, I experienced avocado-man with an awareness that saw his small act as something bigger.

As if in slo-mo, I fully took it in.

That’s been a wonderfully, unexpected benefit of blogging.

 

Photo source: coyot on Pixabay


 

Yes, We Have No Avocados

Pixabay: ponce_photography. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

A fellow ran down the sidewalk from Whole Foods, an avocado in his hand. I was in line at a sidewalk sandwich spot off our town square. Avocado-man popped behind the sandwich counter, cut the fruit open, sliced it, and laid it perfectly onto a partially-made sandwich, which he handed to the man in front of me.

Wow, I thought. What a great customer experience.

Can you imagine! I picture him telling his friends. The guy ran over to Whole Foods to get an avocado. For my sandwich!

And his friends would shake their heads in disbelief.

As my friends shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them how things went awry during my birthday outing.  The birthday without clean coffee cups, bananas or bread. And with no one going out of their way to deliver any of them for me.

That customer and I; we each had stories to tell.

 

Photo source: ponce_photography on Pixabay

I wasn’t sure if avocados were fruits or veggies; they’re a fruit. Here’s the scoop from the California Avocado Commission.


 

A Different Puzzle

Walk the goats

I had 1,000 pieces to choose from.

I would put my puzzle together. I would include straight border edges.

If I couldn’t do it following instructions, I could do it my way. It didn’t matter if all 1,000 pieces were there. I was only going to use thirty-one of them. I’d make them fit.

Sometimes you have to bend rules; think outside the box; stretch boundaries; break clichés.

Sometimes you have to own the puzzle.

I owned it.

 

Photo source: Walk the Goats


 

Lessons in a Puzzle

Walk the Goats

1,000 pieces. That’s what the puzzle box said. I bought it. I’d try this puzzle thing.

Last time I was around a puzzle was 2-years ago. I was at a birthday party and the puzzle was 2/3rd complete. The remaining pieces were nicely laid out, face up. Several folks were standing over the puzzle, chatting, while scanning and trying to fit pieces in. I hit 3-clean picks in a row: snap, snap, snap. It was satisfying. “I’m a natural at this,” I thought.

I figured I’d buy a puzzle and try it at home. Lots of folks like puzzles. Maybe I’m one of them.

A thousand-piece puzzle is not a good place to start, if you aren’t sure you love puzzles.

Continue reading “Lessons in a Puzzle”

Contemporary Avarice

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An obsession with gold; a craving for it.

Midas—a man of great wealth—loved his daughter, his rose garden, and gold. Certain that more gold would bring more happiness, he was granted his wish that everything he touched would turn to gold. He made a critical miscalculation however: how would it play out at meal time? Or when he hugged his daughter?

He got his wish. And launched his nightmare.

Fast forward to today.  To a world filled with people of great wealth; who love their children. And who, based on the current college admissions scandal, have twisted ideas about what’s important in life.

We’ve created a world where a diploma—issued in limited quantities by elite, Ivy League colleges—is today’s contemporary gold.

This golden diploma is obsessed over. Parents want their children to have it, convinced it will guarantee success; and success will, what, breed happiness?

At least King Midas earned his golden wish by doing a kindness for the servant of a god. He may have made a bad choice in how he spent his wish, but at least he didn’t bribe his way to it.

Not so with today’s parents of wealth who decided to buy their kids’ entrance into elite universities and give them a chance to get that coveted golden diploma. Those parents chose to cheat the system through bribery and lies. I wonder if they planned to continue the deceit and buy good grades for their kids after they got admitted.

The thing is, lies are like the golden touch. They both suggest you’ll get what you want. Midas would get his beloved gold. Parents would get their children into sought-after colleges.

But in the end, the golden touch and lies both destroy; they destroy the person employing them, and their loved ones.

 

Photo source: 3602209 on Pixabay


 

F’ing Bees

114_Fing-Bees“Look!” I said to Bubba. “It’s spring! The rosemary bush is covered with bees, busy gathering pollen. Look at them all.”

Bubba glanced up. “You’re right, there are a bunch of bees.”

“Just think,” I continued. “All those lovely girl bees; working away. Meanwhile, the guys are back at the hive, smoking cigars, hoping they get lucky and get to f*ck the Queen. And then die.”

 

Photo source: Walk the Goats

(P.S. I know that’s not rosemary; it’s an artichoke flower.)

 


 

Our Home Security Checklist

Pixabay: PhotoMIX-Company. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Bubba and I will be several blocks from home when one of us turns to the other and asks, “did you lock the door?”

The question triggers doubt. The doubt clings.  When that question gets asked, we’ve learned to turn around, go home and check. Then we can go forward, unencumbered by worry.

Locking the door is an automatic habit. We do it absently. Most of the time. Except for those times we forget.

Because we occasionally do forget, our question—did you lock the door—compels us to return home.

With all our mindfulness exercises, we kept thinking there must be some way to help us remember if we locked the door.

There is.

It’s a professionally-approved system, elegant in its simplicity.

As I insert my key in the lock—we live in a dumb house and are damn proud of it—I say, out loud as I turn the key, “I locked the door.”

Sometimes I say it twice, always out loud.

If Bubba is there, he says it back, “you locked the door.”

It’s very low-tech. No app required. Short. Concise. Engages the brain in actively noting the task as it’s being done.

To help me not view it as a sign I’m getting older, I imagine it’s like a pilot going through their pre-flight checklist. I don’t care how many hours they’ve flown, I want them verbally saying each item on the list as they do it.

If it’s good enough for them flying a plane, it’s good enough for our home security system.

 

Photo source: PhotoMIX-Company on Pixabay


 

Am I Willing to Fail?

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Am I creative? Am I willing to fail?

As I face these questions, I squirm.

I feel like a caterpillar in a silk cocoon, not quite sure where I am in my evolution, but feeling as if some transition is unfolding, out-of-sight.

What transition, I’m not sure. Nor why.

Being unsure, I feel afraid, uncertain, confused.

With a tinge of hopeful anticipation.

Continue reading “Am I Willing to Fail?”

Nudged Toward Retirement

111_NudgedTowardNotWorking2_3-6-19Given the nature of life, sh*t happened this past year.  The same month I started blogging, mom almost died. She didn’t, not then, but 6-months later cancer got her. My blog turned out to be an unexpected blessing; a place I could try and make sense of mom’s last months. Who would’ve known when I launched WTG it would give me a place to unpack stuff, and get support from fellow bloggers?

At this time last year, I was still working, self-employed. After mom’s first hospital scare, I scaled back my hours to be available. It allowed several trips east to help navigate mom’s health issues. After her death, I called it quits, claiming sabbatical, but wondering if I’ll ever go back to seeing clients. I was ready to stop; this was an easy nudge.

Given the time I’ve spent helping dad with things—some of which mom used to handle—I’m grateful I’m not also juggling a full-time job. Between mom’s-post-death stuff, Board duties, Bubba-relationship, and blogging, my days are filled.  As some commitments fade away, I’ll see what new interests reveal themselves.  Maybe National Novel Writing Month?

Not working is intriguing.

Friends thinking about retiring fear they won’t know what to do with their days.

Friends who’ve retired say they’re always busy, although half-the-time they admit they can’t figure out what they did all day. They share a persistent wondering: “how’d I used to work full-time, raise kids, do the shopping, run errands, make meals, clean the house and occasionally have fun?”

Sabbatical is my version of not working; certainly of being busy while not getting paid. My experience throws me solidly in the how’d I used to manage all that stuff camp.

I’m getting a taste of not working; feeling a nudge toward retirement. I like it.

How about you? If you’re retired (or nearing retirement) or on sabbatical, what inner voices chirp away in your head? Are you embracing or resisting it? Scared by or excited by it?

And if you’re fully immersed in it, what fills your days?

 

Photo source: geralt on Pixabay


 

Red Chair in the Snow

I love this chair. Lots of friends shared their memories of similar chairs when they were growing up. I told dad I thought the red chair would look great against snow. When enough fresh powder lightly blanketed it, he obliged and took pictures for me.  It’s beautiful in any season. May it remind you of a peaceful place, time, moment.

 

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Holiday colors….
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A light dusting of snow…
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Come…sit….
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Snowflakes glisten…

 

Photos: Walk the Goats’ Dad


 

One-Year Blogging Birthday!

Pixabay: Clker-Free-Vector-Images: free for commercial use, no attribution required

I don’t know if blogging for one year triggers a birthday celebration, an anniversary or both. I’m going with birthday, because while I hitched myself to WordPress in 2017, it wasn’t until March 1, 2018 that I launched Walk the Goats, and committed to writing regularly.  Here I am; one year in, plugging away.

Thanks to those who joined me on the outset of this journey. To those who found me more recently, welcome.  It seemed easier to meet fellow bloggers when the WordPress Community Pool existed. Or maybe I just need a gentle push to engage with others more.

So, in honor of this wonderful blogging community and my one-year-blogging birthday, I’ve got an ask. Send me some great reads. Link me to a favorite blog post. Whether it’s your own or a fellow blogger—or both!—doesn’t matter. I’ll read, and I’ll comment.

Help plug me in to others. Help me laugh, learn, ponder, mull and delight in the wit and wisdom of those you read. It’ll be an awesome blogging-birthday-gift. Serve it up in the comments below.

If you simply want to wish me a happy blogging-birthday, I’ll take it. Thanks, and here’s to continued blogging success!

 

Photo source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images on Pixabay


 

The Vein-ity of Giving Blood

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I donate blood regularly. I’d like to say I do it strictly for the do-gooder character in me, but, like so many things, multiple characters influence my blood-donating habits.

Mom volunteered for Red Cross Blood Drives when I was growing up, so when the blood drive came to our high school, she encouraged me to donate, reassuring me over my needle-queasiness and worries about having blood taken. The character who wants to please mom is definitely in play

I’ve varied between being an occasional—sometimes lapsed—donor, to being consistent, donating regularly at our local firehouse, which hosts a blood drive every 8-weeks. My lapses were often due to inconvenience—no local blood drive—or too busy.  With our local firehouse setup, it’s easy to give. My do-gooder character believes in the value of donating, so making it easy helps me stay aligned in this corner of my mind.

My every-8-week donation plan sometimes gets thrown off schedule when my iron count fails.

Continue reading “The Vein-ity of Giving Blood”

100 Forever Stamps: $49.75 @ Costco

Pixabay: AngelaT Free for commercial use; no attribution required

U.S. first class stamp prices increased in January from $.50 to $.55. If you’re a Costco member, they’re currently selling books of 100 at the old price, until March 3rd, while supplies last.

Since I didn’t make it to the Post Office before the price increase, make this Item #6 on my Costco Greatest Hits list.

Available at warehouse locations only, not online.

And remember: postage stamps really are wonderful little marvels.

Photo source: AngelaT on Pixabay.


 

 

 

 

 

Road Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally

106_RoadRageLesson3_2-26-19I’ve written two blog posts inspired by a place I dubbed mindfulness intersection. It was a stretch of road I drove regularly, giving me plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness.

My first lesson was about my rage at another car cutting in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter, at a different, but similar, intersection.

My third lesson—I’ve stopped saying final because life keeps surprising me—I tell here.

This lesson captures the essence of Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement—don’t take anything personally—in his book, The Four Agreements.

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”[1]

This third lesson, surprisingly, happened while I was walking. Having had a disagreement with Bubba, I was outside, stomping up the street, trying to clear my head and make sense of what had just happened.

Continue reading “Road Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally”

Wintry Mindfulness Moments

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My blogging efforts remind me of learning to drive a stick-shift: fits-and-starts. In January, I met my goal of posting three-times a week. So far this month? Sketchy.

My excuse? I went east to spend time with dad, to celebrate his 95th birthday. Generally I avoid flying cross-country during winter; too unpredictable. I haven’t been home for Christmas in decades. I tried to get east for dad’s 90th birthday, but snow-storms cancelled that year’s trip.  With mom’s death last September, the urge to go east for Christmas or for dad’s February birthday was strong.

I opted for dad’s birthday, both to miss the holiday madness, and so I could get information together for his tax return. Dad might discourage my traveling for his birthday; but to get the taxes done would be a compelling enticement.

Whether I was going to get east seemed dicey.

Continue reading “Wintry Mindfulness Moments”