Notes Turns Two


I almost forgot Ponder’s birthday – Mother’s Day 2012, my daughter sent me an email asking that I log in to a wordpress account. Never having heard of wordpress, knowing only that she had my complete trust, I obliged by clicking on the link and entering our trusty old family code word to pass the gates of ho-hum into “where have you been all my life?”.

I can’t take credit for my first post – it met me at my wordpress gate,  posted by my daughter based on a story I told her a few days earlier. It stoically boasts one “like” and seventy five “views”.

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/transactions-of/

My daughter claimed there was far too much rattling about my head and I needed an outlet. Wading cautiously forward, I had the advantage of exploration – no expectations, preconceived ideas, or notion of grandeur. I wasn’t plotting a path of clicks and views, didn’t contemplate strategies aimed at monetary gain or methodically increase my presence. My “about” page, kept brief, vague and on point – simply a post a day, something to think about, talk about, learn more about. Reluctant to divulge personal information, self consciously I began to write for the first time in thirty years.

Shaky at first, not sure where it would take me, I posted meat and potatoes snippets I found fascinating. Clinging to my knowledge of ancient history – Gobekli Tepe, Derinkuyu, Peri Reis, Hypogeum of Malta, and Mica lined Pyramid of the Sun. Terrified I might be “pegged” a bat shit alien conspirator or crystal fondling numerologist, I tested the waters of space weather wing nut by posting on the Carrington Event, meteor showers, and to cascading groans of my family – solar flare alerts.

Six months later, not a soul outside my family knew about my blog. One night, well into a bottle of wine I found the courage to hit “publish” on something terrifying – a personal story. I held my breath, briefly paralyzed by second thoughts. None the least of which – it wasn’t particularly well written. I’ve left it alone, resisting the urge to fuss and polish the rather childish story because it was the turning point. I relaxed, told friends about my blog and never looked back.

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/regret/

I never know what I’m going to write, don’t apologize for who I am and care little for pointless mud slinging. What astounds and warms the tip of my toes are the remarkable people I’ve met along the way. I consider myself lucky to have found a little rut to run in. People who know me only through wordpress likely know me better than those who have known me for years. This is who I am – I’ve grown immeasurably in two years and can only daydream of where it will take me. Thank you wordpress.

 

Tin Box


The tin box caught my eye; bravely perched atop piles of garbage, discarded clothing and broken furniture. It was old, probably 50’s or 60’s, a bread box in it’s day; the kind of box that sat on your grandmother’s kitchen counter. Discarded behind a derelict house; tossed out in haste or aggression, left to fend for itself in the driving rain.

My fondness for vintage nick knacks brought the car to a stop, I tossed it into the trunk with nary a thought to the contents or owner. I hadn’t noticed the weight of abandoned tin box, it didn’t occur to me to look inside . I confess it lay forgotten, weeks passed before remembering to take a look, what I discovered broke my heart – I had become the caretaker of another’s life.

This wasn’t something a person discarded when cleaning out the closet or packing for a move. Tin box protected a family history; decades of photographs and letters – smiling faces of those who have come and gone, birthday cards, best wishes lacking any hint of origin. Familiar words intended for those who had no use for envelopes with return addresses or last names. A tin guardian lost forever.

Tin box rests undisturbed in my basement; I’ve pondered long and hard how it ended up in that alley, asked myself if someone came looking for it, and agonized over my rash decision to toss it in the car. Tin box refuses to reveal a single clue as to where it came from, who might be missing it or how I can return  it safely to anyone who cares. I suspect the demise of tin box was ugly – likely a casualty of circumstance – testament to a life gone astray.

In my heart I know tin box would have gone to the dump had I not thrown it in my trunk. I understand lives fallen off the rails, tin boxes the least of your worries.  All the same – my sincerest apology tin box, I had no idea how valuable you were. I’ll keep you safe and warm and promise not to use you as a flower pot. My hope your owner has their life together is sincere, your treasure testament to a once happy family – a family that loved the one who saw you languish in that dark, forlorn alley.

Vintage bread box – sadly not my tin box since my camera is acting up, but very close to my treasured burden. Photo from primrose.blogspot.com

Note To Self


Tonight I find myself pondering impressions those who don’t know me might extract from some of my posts. To my dismay, it’s been brought to my attention that at times I come across as “preachy” or creeping far to close to “looking down my nose” . I find this notion extremely disturbing; this is not who I am, or how I wish to come across. As a result – not only in my defence, but as a reminder to myself – I’ve come up with this “Note To Self”.

* Ponder before you write, don’t write before you ponder.

*Another point of view is just as valid as yours.

*You’re not as smart as you think you are.

*Avoid the following….

http://thesaurus.com/browse/biased

* Stay calm and carry on.

* You’re a kind person with a big heart and open mind – don’t embarrass yourself.

Notes On A Plane


On Monday notes will be on a plane, landing in the heart of the Canadian prairies. Our prairies; vast, hard working, practical – a place so foreign from my city life, I might as well be travelling to another planet. A planet full of wonders and beauty: a place to regroup, take stock and re-charge. Saskatchewan beckons for practical unpretentious people, exemplary work ethics, a sense of community and lets not forget – that endless sky.

Travel serves many purposes; sometimes we want to explore foreign lands, at times to full fill obligations or simply step away from our daily routines. More and more, travel involves a “destination” , cruise or “all inclusive” experience. All too often we over look travelling to those places in our own back yards, places that can provide the tonic our lives are missing.

For me, a trip to the Canadian prairies reminds me of what’s important; it gives perspective to my nation, and restores faith in our great country. Maybe I’ve been a city dweller far too long – maybe cities have become so bloated, so driven by money, greed and status that I’ve forgotten how it feels to be welcomed by a stranger, smiled at as I walk down the street or had lunch in a restaurant without bleached, silicone “Barbies” presenting my menu on an IPad.

Prairie people don’t blither on about “farm to table”, don’t survive on Quinoa and tofu, they don’t announce for all the world to be organic vegans or lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive environmentalists while handing their Escalade keys to a valet.They simply live; they live sensibly, without pretension or airs.

Saskatchewan isn’t “quaint”, uneducated or backwards in any way – Saskatchewan is real. A place supporting the arts at unprecedented levels, a place where people know who their neighbour is because people are there to help each other. The prairies remind me of how life should be; a sense of community, work ethic and unity.

Perhaps I’m clinging to some romantic illusion of the past, or maybe, just maybe prairie people have the secret to that empty feeling so many of us have. Ponder not the size of the place you live in, rather the size of your capacity to be humble, honest and hard working. All I can say for certain is I’m a better person after each and every visit to the bread basket of my great country.Strip away pretension or status and life appears to fall into place. Life finds rhythm when you smell the seasons while gazing at an endless sky. Life makes sense when community means a way of life rather than a centre to lift weights.

 

When Trouble’s Name is “Sister”


Trouble doesn’t necessarily mean “trouble”, it can mean sit down and enjoy the ride, hold onto your hat because the wind is picking up, or holy crap – this is unexpected. Trouble can mean the start of a very good day; a bat shit crazy day of wild abandon – troublesome only for those who reluctantly find themselves in a ring side seat.

I knew it was trouble when I booked a flight to visit my sister in a few weeks. It isn’t that I’m trouble or she’s trouble; the truth is – we’re trouble. We don’t mean to raise our families eyebrows or make too much noise at 3 AM – we just do, we can’t help ourselves. We are polite middle aged women who inexplicably turn into giggling morons if left alone too long. We dance, call bullshit on each other and collapse on the floor in fits of laughter.

This may not sound like trouble, yet assure you it’s troublesome to those in our path; we become idiots for reasons only we understand. In all honesty, we can’t understand what happens; what’s important is – it doesn’t matter.

I’m the little sister by ten months – she wasn’t even walking when I was born. If I was oil, she was water; two people couldn’t have been more different. We started school the same year, were known as the “sisters” and secretly loathed each others presence. We were always fighting or competing; she – outgoing, me – painfully quiet and shy. We drifted apart to the point of not even speaking to each other for years.

I couldn’t pin point the moment our lives changed; the moment we opened our eyes and looked at each other again. All I know is she’s trouble; the kind of trouble that makes me feel young and stupid, the kind of trouble that leaves us feeling sheepish as we apologize for disturbances in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know who’s crazier, nor does it matter. Life is over in the blink of an eye; pondering irrelevant details is a waste of time – I’m perfectly content knowing trouble’s name is “sister”. Somehow, a week with her makes all my troubles go away.

Imagine Change – A Challenge


.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0PirL6Sw6s

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering change, action and apathy; time spent writing posts about our divisions or differences. Every once and a while I sprinkle a dose of Playing For Change in the mix. Tonight I’m reminded how short sighted I am to wring my hands and cluck about inaction; tonight I remembered to look at the glass as half full. Tonight I launch my Playing For Change campaign.

Music has the power to transcend boundaries; a crowd listening to a street musician perform doesn’t care what religious or political affiliation the person next to them has. Music is the logical place to stop squabbling over petty differences while forming a common goal. Song might just have the power to bring about a shift in rigid thinking – dare I express a tiny seed of hope growing in this pondering mind – a secret little smile curling at my edges, a faint hope that unexpected joy stemming from shaking your ass or tapping your toe – could be the spark needed to make us understand how incredibly silly mud slinging accusations are. A tool to make us realize how futile and incredibly boring our world would be if all of us were cut from the same cloth. An instrument to lead us away from suspicion, bigotry, and stereotypes – come on, lighten up people.

Here’s my challenge – click on the link below and learn about the Playing For Change movement.

http://playingforchange.com/

Where ever you are, whatever you might do, no matter your age, race, profession, economic status or political/religious affiliation – set those aside and ponder how you can spread the Playing For Change message. Put your thinking caps on – spread the word – I want to hear your ideas.