Posts Tagged ‘#365Ways’

We had waffles, watched a race, went for a walk and generally enjoyed a beautiful, lazy summer’s day. Now somehow it’s time for dinner so I’ll leave you with a brief excerpt from a stroll in the woods, once upon a time in Thailand.

Chang Mai—Jungle Trek

A rutted dirt road led from the parking lot through a stand of tall trees. The road quickly narrowed to a track that led past a small facilities building, scattered picnic areas, and into denser woods. A huge centipede scurried past my sandals and exposed toes, making it clear that Thais eat such creatures for their size, not their beauty. After this apparition I had no trouble keeping my eyes open. An unexpected benefit of being alert was that I found an amulet someone had lost on the trail. The guidebook had mentioned that Thais always carry at least one amulet with them wherever they go, and I’d made a note to look for one in the market as a token of the visit. Presto, there it was. I hope it wasn’t the owner’s only protection.

Good luck charm in hand, we wound our way along the stream bed as the sound of crashing water grew louder. The little valley opened up, the sun broke through the tree tops, and a waterfall appeared. The impressive thing about it wasn’t so much its height, which was hard to gauge through the trees, but its power.

A pool carved out at the fall’s base and the mist all over my clothes and the trees attested to the water’s strength and the abundant runoff in this waterlogged part of the country. The trail around the pool had gone muddy from the mist and visitors’ feet, giving me what was to be the first of many intimate moments with Thai muck. I had no idea how familiar I was to become with that red earth over the next day and a half.

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Photo by Norbert Braun on Unsplash

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“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

— the Dalai Lama

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Photo by Peter Thomas on Unsplash

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It is Canada Day today and I am wearing a red and white beaver shirt and my Tilley hat and we’ve just come back from a long walk through the wild and glorious suburbs of Ottawa. Now I’m going to use the strawberry syrup I made from local berries for a strawberry lime freeze because it is hot and muggy.

I’ll leave you with the start of a poem about this great country; click through the link to read more.

Canada by Billy Collins | Poetry Foundation

I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark

that I cut from a tree with a penknife.

There is no other way to express adequately

the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms   

and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility   

that hands you the horizon on a platter…

While we’re on the subject of poetry, I discovered the Poetry Atlas, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Navigate to your favorite locale to find an associated poem, like these about Canada:

Poems about: canada – Poetry Atlas

O Canada!

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Photos by Joshua Balsamo and Joel Henry on Unsplash

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We rose early. At 5:30 the world was quiet, not just because of the hour but because a heavy blanket of grey fog covered the neighborhood. Houses across the street loomed in the haze, their trees mere outlines. 

The fog is almost gone now but the grey sky remains, a low ceiling that dampens sound. The birds don’t mind. A family of grackles is flitting from back yard to front, jays and finches and robins visit for a bath, and a pair of mourning doves make themselves at home on the stonework. The plants don’t mind either. Yellow tickseed flowers stand open and bright yellow even without the sun. And now, a slight breeze whispers through the maple leaves. 

The wider world awakes.

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If you’ve ever had writers’ block you’ll know that it is, hmm, not fun. In my experience, getting past it requires taking a step back and reassessing your project, your goals, and your self. It can also help to understand what kind of block you’re dealing with. For that, Charlie Jane Anders has some advice:

The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the terrifying mystique of Writer’s Block, it’s better to take it apart and understand it — and then conquer it. Here are 10 types of Writer’s Block and how to overcome each type.

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Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

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My father’s mother baked from scratch, but she always had a container of Cool Whip in the fridge when we came to visit. Did she always stock it? I don’t know, but it was a special treat for us.

I don’t buy it for myself but even now the taste of Cool Whip reminds me of hot summers and warm smiles.

Last week, I whipped up a bit of cream to go with fresh strawberries from a farm down the road. I usually add a bit of Grand Marnier but this time, I decided to try a slight twist. 

It turns out that heavy whipping cream plus vanilla, sugar and a dollop of sour cream creates a thick whipped topping that tastes a lot like Cool Whip. Not as it is, necessarily, but as I remember it. Fun, flavorful, special.

Let’s call it Cool Whip for adults. All of the memories, none of the additives.

Thanks, Grandma.

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Photo by Tangerine Newt on Unsplash

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Not everyone who is old is wise. Not everyone who is wise is old. But it is true that for many of us, age equals experience which equals at least some measure of perspective. There is a reason elders are respected in many societies. 

The written word has many benefits, not least that it allows such wisdom to be widely shared. For the past several birthdays, the maverick, artist, futurist and professional optimist Kevin Kelly has made it a point to aggregate advice he wishes he had known. Then, through the magic of the internet, he shares that advice with the world. 

“I am extremely optimistic about the future – despite reading the news.”

— Kevin Kelly (I’ll have what he’s having)

Does every suggestion work for me? No, but that’s ok. As he says, “Half the skill of being educated is learning what you can ignore.”

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The Technium: 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known

• The advantage of a ridiculously ambitious goal is that it sets the bar very high so even in failure it may be a success measured by the ordinary.

• A great way to understand yourself is to seriously reflect on everything you find irritating in others.

The Technium: 99 Additional Bits of Unsolicited Advice

• That thing that made you weird as a kid could make you great as an adult — if you don’t lose it.

The Technium: 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

• Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

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Photo by Chirag Saini on Unsplash

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I came across this short little video and thought it was lovely. And while the coincidentally-named concept of “Jen” is not about me, I’ll try to live up to it all the same.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

― Henry James

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Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

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The problem with writing a daily blog with a bright-side bent is that not all days are bright. Some days the news is not what you’d hope. And what to say about a society that, despite the wishes of the majority, is on its way to becoming a Margaret Atwood reality show?

But, as I remind myself, there is always tomorrow.

“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” 

― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792 (died 1797 of childbed fever)

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Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash

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“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

Maya Angelou

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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