Sunday, May 29, 2016

“Ma, Your Boy has a Colander in his Pants Again.”

Don Hahn, in his book Brain Storm, tells about being a boy and smuggling various objects from the kitchen up to his bedroom in his pajama pants. When he was bored with his little green plastic soldiers having already won the battle two or three times, he would experiment with a flashlight and his objects.  When he discovered shining a flashlight through a colander he had an entire  milky way on his ceiling.

Why am I telling you this?  I like it. It’s fun, and you might be interested in being more creative.

Perhaps that is what’s missing in our day to day life. I am distressed to see so many unhappy people. Perhaps they’re okay, and it is my perception that is faulty, but I don’t think so. If you can’t trust your own perceptions what can you trust?  I see many people walk around slack-jawed, and head down. That in itself shows depression. Tony Robbins says to sit up straight and put a big stupid grin on your face. Now try to be depressed.

I had a change of heart the other day. I have been feeling prickly of late and prone to expletives. When my daughter suggested a particular Yoga class, I took her up on it. It’s an easy one, not strenuous, and last week we had a guided meditation. I left that class in a zone, wondering if I was safe to drive home. I wasn’t, but there was no harm done.

I didn’t see the cement strip in front of my car and instead of backing out of my parking place as I have told myself a hundred times to do, I pulled forward, right into that cement strip demarking the parking space. That "Whack," woke me up. At home, a family member was stressing out, and I didn’t take in on as I often do. And that night I slept—I’m not going to say like a baby, they wake up every two hours—mine was the sleep of a contented person.

I do believe more meditation is in order…

This morning I was on my way to my latest blog post, "What Do You Want? (beautiful picture), ready to delete it, for I figured that prickly edge I had was showing, and didn’t know if I wanted to let that post stand. Before I deleted it, I found I had a 4, 595 audience spike. Either people like pitty, or it was my two hashtags that brought them in. Either way, I thank all who gave it a look-see.

Don Hahn is a Disney Imagineer. He says that "Creativity beckons us to jump into the void--to shine a light on darkness and to take a risk on following a new idea."

And I have found that taking a day off feels really really good.  Most people who write on creativity say it is important to recharge your batteries from time to time. Julie Cameron (The Artist’s Way) says it’s a must to go to a place where you are inspired--museums, art galleries, nature walks--I long for a good horseback ride through the forest. Hahn says you must leave your office and go into a new environment. And don’t ask anyone’s permission. Go alone. Make it a guilt-free, censor-free zone.

And here is a Hahn’s quote I love:

“Why do I care if I make a fool out of myself?  It’s called living, and while we are yet alive shouldn’t we do things that living people do? So embrace your inner idiot.”

And hey, listen to this one: the classroom had emptied all except one little girl who was intent on her drawing. The teacher asked what she was doing.

“Drawing a picture of God,” she answered.”

“But honey, no one knows what God looks like,” responded the teacher.

Said the little girl, “They will in a minute.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Do You Want?

What do You Want?

Besides health, wealth and happiness, of course. A connection with the divine? Indeed. A marvelous relationship? Of course.

This question, “What do you want?”  so I read, is what a potential employee ought to ask their interviewer.

That rather turns the table on them doesn’t it?

I suspect that the entrepreneurial spirit that is becoming prevalent in America is that people are tired of being treated like second-class citizens, tired of not being trusted, tired of  punching a time clock, tired of being watched because the company that is squeezing every penny they can out of their customers are also squeezing their employees.

And getting an interview? That is after filling out that on-line form, the one where they ask for the same information that is on the resume’. But, send the resume anyway, you know, that piece of paper that solicits rejection. The computer program goes through a number of pre-set checks—looking for buzz words before a resume ever gets to a human eye.

Any company worth their salt should know that an honest answer is slim when an interviewer asks such questions, as, “In your last job what did you do when you had a problem with a subordinate?”

“Well, I got pissed off as hell. I yelled at them and kicked them out of the office.”

You think your interviewee is going to say that?

If the interviewer has a sense of humor they might like that answer. I’m wondering, though, what happened to using one’s intuition to determine whether you like that person or not?

What happened to asking honest questions and getting honest answers?

Would you like to work with that person?

Does she seem like someone willing to learn?

And those psychological tests…The smart ones can probably outsmart the questionnaire. Hire that person.

So many companies assume that you are going to lie, cheat and steal from them, and so they put in rules trying to control that. 

Let’s face it, some “Old school,” has merit. A handshake meant a firm deal, a gentleman's agreement. One did not renege on that. No contract was needed.

I’m a dreamer. I believe people will be honest if you trust them to be that.  I believe people will rise to your expectations. I believe a person would rather work than be idle …

But, if, you are wrong about them, fire their ass.

P.S. Perhaps this does not apply to you. You’re not looking for a job, you have the perfect one. Okay, now comes, “What do you want?”

You know, wanting is the juice that drives us. #Abraham says “You’ll never get it done.”

I want to live where I want and write and make a living doing it. #Caz and Craig, do that, and Caz's motto is "If somebody can do it I can."

So, “What do you want?” Don’t be afraid. Put it out there. Let us support you in your dream…

And do you have any thoughts on this? How often should I post on this blog?

#Seth Godin posts once a day…can you believe it?

That’s too much for me. I aim for more like once a week—I know you have more to do than read my blogs. I’m happy that you do, though.

I'm signing off with Aloha, (I still love that word—It means, “Hello, goodbye and I love you. It also represents a way of life—to do good without expecting anything in return.)


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Monday, May 16, 2016

Eggs, To Refrigerate or not to Refrigerate?

I should call this, "A Week in the Life of"...or "Photo Gallery." 

First, though, the chicken egg question. Whether we grow chickens or buy store eggs most of us have heard this question: "Should we refrigerate eggs?"
Well, should we?
I have found the answer. It's Yes and No.
When the eggs are washed. yes. Not washed? No.
A hen produces a cuticle—sometimes called a bloom—that covers her egg shell. The bloom protects the porous shell from losing moisture. The United States requires that eggs be washed, so they need to be refrigerated.  Europe  requires that eggs are not washed. The warm eggers say the eggs taste better, and that eggs ought to be warm for baking. (You know few people make buttery flaky croissants like the French. And they use raw milk as well.. Imagine.)

However, room-temperature eggs ought to be used within a week. Washed or unwashed, an egg will stay fresh in the refrigerator for three to five weeks.  One day out of the refrigerator equals about one week in. If the eggs are dirty, of course, wash them, if not let them be. (You can always rinse them before cooking.)

From My Hens...

Here’s a test to see if an egg is fresh. Put Two Tablespoons of salt into two cups of water. Place in the egg. If it sinks to the bottom and stays there it is fresh. If it floats from the bottom at an angle it is starting to age. If it floats throw it out.
Regarding bacterial invasion, studies say refrigerated or not, the results are the same. However—this is important:  Once refrigerated, do not leave an egg out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. It will sweat, allowing bacteria to penetrate the egg shell.
You know an egg shell is porous for it allows oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through the shell for an incubating chick. If you have seen a chick hatching you might have noticed the network of capillaries on the inside of the shell--rather like a placenta for the chick.
The birthing process for a chick is long and arduous, taking hours, pecking, breathing, resting, finally breaking the shell, and wiggling out to dry and to rest. What a process. The complexity of it is mind-boggling. First, the chick breathes inside the shell, you know the air space inside the egg shell--that flat space of a boiled egg? That space holds air the chick breathes days before hatching, before he picks a hole in the shell, and can breathe outside air. Carbon dioxide build-up inside the shell jars the chick into action--I better get out of this shell quick.

Well, it’s been  a quiet week here on the farm*...except for the flowers laughing.
*[Farm: one city lot, two 5 x 5 foot raised vegetable beds, a lawn forward and back, two dogs, two cats, one daughter, one grandson, one husband,  one blog writer,  and three hens.
A farm? Not really. Besides my animals are pets, there’s a difference.]
From the Meadow 

We've been wondering what the white flowers blanketing fields are...
Meadow Foam 
The oils are used in beauty products.

Meadow Foam in vase

To the garden:
Strawberry leaf
I was so excited to see this I had to take a picture. Theis is a strawberry leaf, and normally in pictures we see water droplets from dew or rain. These droplets, the pearls around the periphery of the leaf, come from within the plant. It is called transportation. The plant is giving up water instead of taking it.


To the Forest...
"Mother's Day"
Forest floor. Wild Geraniums

Wild Iris

To the bonfire...
And finally a recipe for Mother's day: Two daughters, two grandsons, one son-in-law, one husband, one bonfire, one Christmas tree's final Harrah, some forest debris, marshmallows, and weiners.

El Yummo

Then today, Saturday
It's not so quiet, the rain on the car roof sounded like a Gatling gun. Sweet Pea and I were on our way to Puppy class but ended up postponing it because she has Kennel Cough. First Lafayette had it then Sweet Pea. Like kids, they pass around colds.  Thus, I am out at 10: 00 Saturday morning with my laptop, and found Starbucks to be hopping. People were standing in line, reading, using their computers. Eugenians do not let a little (or a lot) of rain keep them home. I should drive by Saturday Market to see how the Vendors are doing, swimming probably.

But hark, above the pinging of rain on the roof, I hear the melodious voices of flowers singing in the shower.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


I’m sitting in an embarrassing spot.

I’m in a car, in a crosswalk.

You know the feeling, you were going a bit too fast, the light changed a second before you expected it, and you come to a halt just a little over the line, in the crosswalk.

Has that never happened to you?

Well, I sat there itching to get out of my predicament, while in slow motion the cars to the right of me turned. The ones to the left turned into their far lane. The ones straight ahead laughed past me. By that time I was figuring someone was in a control booth with a push button for the traffic light, watching me sweat.

I flashed on a time long ago. I was a Dental Assistant in downtown The Dalles, Oregon. The office was on the second story with a window where we could see down to the sidewalk and street below.  I was alone. I looked down at the people below and at a man standing waiting for the light to change.

He was a sitting duck.

The water spray from the dental unit could reach to the window.

I aimed. I pushed the lever. A direct hit.

His reaction makes me laugh every time I think of it.

Payback time.

The following is just too good to pass up:

If any of you have ever queried or applied for a job you can identify.

From #Mary Shannon
#Honest Cover Letter
Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to you because I really, really need a fucking job and this particular position with your company/organization, at this juncture in my life, seems good enough.

Your company/organization is appealing to me only because of its potential to provide me a salary, and a matching 401(k) program if I’m lucky. I am passionate about bullshitting my skills, and have done so in countless cover letters such as this one, and I hope to utilize this passion to serve your company/organization’s benefit. 

I may add a line or two here directly from your mission statement, to show I’ve done my research!
This position is listed as entry-level and requires 3 years of experience in addition to a Bachelor’s degree, and a Master’s degree is preferred. That’s pretty fucked up, so this is where I’ll try to embellish my one year of international non-profit experience to make it seem commensurate with additional experience in the field. Insert quantified outcomes here! I am confident I can translate this background to effectively [verbatim buzz-phrase from job posting] and [verbatim buzz-phrase from job posting].
I swear on my mom’s life that I was a really good student at my University (i.e. please don’t make me prove it by having to provide transcripts) and this part is where I’ll tell you about all the accomplishments I achieved when I was a student, hoping that you’ll deem them worthy of consideration as experience, and that you’re even still reading this letter. Now I’ll mention my undergraduate involvement with [student organization] and [student organization], student organizations dedicated to [something even remotely related to what your company/organization does], and use it as an example of literally any type of skill set you could possibly require. By the way, if you haven’t noticed yet, I have fucking great verbal and written communication skills, and I will say so directly here.
I understand you’re likely reading hundreds of similar cover letters from other young twenty-somethings who did everything they were told and did well in school and got their degrees and are now also facing the constant feeling of impending doom that is unemployment… but I can promise you that I’m different and unique and exactly what you need! I look forward to learning more about this opportunity as an employee with your company/organization, a company/organization with which my career goals and personal values only moderately align. I also look forward to any future occasion during which I can convince you to hire me. If I haven’t been abundantly clear, I’m very broke and need this. You can contact me at [email] or [phone number] at almost any time of any day because I’m usually not doing much aside from applying for other jobs, watching Netflix, and having panic attacks about my future. In the meantime, thank you for your consideration!
Mary Shannon
P.S. As you may have noticed I signed up to be a Travel Agent with Incentive Travel Connection. And as an independent agent who does not have to answer to anyone but herself, I am placing notice that I will not sell tickets, cruises, beverage packages, anything on #The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Good Head of Steam

“You’re dehydrated,” said the doctor.

Not me. I have an iced tea, an iced coffee and a small glass of fresh squeezed limeade I stole from my grandson, sitting before me. 

My friend was in the hospital after a fall. She was dehydrated. That meant her electrolytes were low. She was in pain from the fall. On top of that, she was in a state of nervous hypertension.

So what did they do?

First, she was admitted to the senior section—that discombobulated her. Next, and you won’t believe this, they gave her an Alzheimer’s test.

She said, “I couldn’t understand even the nurse’s questions. This is a phenomenon that happens when a person is under stress and fear, and she flunked the Alzheimer’s test.  

They were there to “Help her,” they said.

So they diagnosed her with early onset Alzheimers and sent her home. A fine help that was.

That was like a Witch Doctor killing a chicken in front of her eyes, waving it over his head and splattering blood around the room.

The diagnosis is now lodged in her brain.

Yeah, I think they ask who the Vice president is as well. Don’t ask me. I think it’s Biden, but I might say Chaney, or Quayle or Bush or Gore. Hey, I remember Johnson and Nixon.

And I do not believe my friend has Alzheimer’s.

In earlier days we had joked that if someone gave us a list of words and asked us to repeat them we would fail. There she was facing her fears.
You do not give a test to someone under strain and trauma. If she wanted the test, wait until she was out of pain, hydrated and calm.

But that diagnosis is now stuck in her brain and it sent me off on a tirade.

"Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody had said it before him."—Mark Twain

I can't leave my computer for a minute. While I was replenishing my drinks, Obi climbed aboard his favorite sitting place.

P.S. When planning travel, think of me.