You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘rejigger’ tag.

Ever do perfect? Impossible.

Kindergarten 101 revisited: no perfect.

Remember?

Unleash the fire!

Unleash the fire!

So, why is it that in my mind I do everything perfect? Or I don’t do. In other words, I don’t do lots of things that really matter to me because I know the outcome will not measure up to my super high standards.

Many of my students in my writing workshops are the same way. They say something like, “I don’t want to write my novel because it will never be a best seller.”

My advice, of course, is always: “Write it anyway. Just write it.”

You can’t LIVE a dream if the fabric of it lays snarled around your mind and never sees light of day. Yes, an idea CAN LEAD to a reality; but meanwhile an idea is as dead as dead can be if it does not take shape, color and form.

Imagine this eulogy:  “She always had that book in her mind but now neither she nor the book will ever see the light of day.”  Sad indeed!

For months, okay, nearly a year, I agonized over this “Backyard Therapy” blog. I wanted to revamp it. Tweak it. Change it. Transform it until it screamed with all its might, attracted millions of followers and fans …, and … phew, let me catch a breath … the reality is, months have gone by, and NEVER MIND changing anything – I did not write one word, NOT ONE!

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Voltaire said; one of my favorite modern-day uplifting writers and thinkers Gretchin Rubin periodically refers back to that simple, but profound thought.

And, here is how I think of it: “Don’t let good out-shadow good enough.”

So now, at least for today, I have broken the frame around my picture-perfect world and I’m back again. I am especially grateful to some fellow bloggers and very special friends like Aileen DePeter O’Sullivan who actually inspired me to move out of my mind–not always the best of places to reside–and come out to be found, found out or, better yet, just find myself. There is no better company than that of other fellow travelers who like me, irk at exposing their imperfections, but marvel to see that these shortcomings are what bind us, inspire us and join us to the core of the soul.

So with that said welcome to a new year and a totally revamped blog: WTF (Where’s the Faith?) …a more critical and crystallized vehicle of expression for a very niche audience…faith-filled and spiritual inspiration for people living through personal crisis and loss…a group that I am most proud of being a member.

 Stay tuned!…until next time…faith forward!

Advertisement
World's Largest Buffalo Statue in Jamestown, N...

Image via Wikipedia

This past summer, Parade Magazine had a delightful write up, titled, “Visit an American Original.” The gist of it was a list of 50 giant-sized landmarks.  From the world’s largest buffalo in Jamestown, N.D. to a giant roller skate in Anchorage, Alaska.

Does your town/city/village have a giant…something?  If it doesn’t, is there anything colossal to visit?  Think of the statues in your area around town and in parks and don’t forget your local cemetery too.  Are there any diners or eateries donning a giant hotdog or mega-burger on the roof or on its premises? Think.  You’ve probably passed it by.  Now, go and visit the landmark again.  Take some photos; delve deeper and find out who was responsible for the landmark.  I mean, I can understand the world’s largest strawberry in Strawberry Point, Iowa, but the world’s largest filing cabinet in Burlington, Vermont?

Atop Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul

Rejigger and set your next day trip travels around something big; big may not always be better, but it sure gives you lots of food for thought—with no calories.  It’s a great way to teach kids about a quirky way to appreciate and learn about things that may be big and under our noses, but we still miss them each and every time.

In the cyclical fashion of life and death, summer’s promenade nears its final steps.  I always contemplated why people spent so many hours planting flowers when summer seems to wink and flirt, and then without warning, scoot yonder before even an indulgence of a generous goodbye.

The Inn at Mystic, Mystic, CT

After having the opportunity to experience many summers in my life, I have finally figured out that the hours spent sowing, planting, preparing one’s garden….only to witness a spray of naked buds, yellowed leaves and empty soil patches, are an act of unconditional love.  If you could put the concept into words, the statement would be like this, “I believe that there is never an end, only a new beginning; I believe in promise and hope and the goodness of all things. I believe.”

On that note, rejigger and smell every single flower that you can on your next day-tripping adventure before season’s end.  Inhale, as if it is the last summer, the final hour, the final moment…breathe deeply the joy of now…and replace all of your mind’s chatter by repeating the following: “I believe.”

Jody Dyer, long-time owner of the Inn at Mystic, Mystic, CT

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Kahlil Gibran


Book-ball sculpture, Open Book Center, Minneap...

Image by gruntzooki via Flickr

Museums, art galleries and creative venues are not the only avenues that can inspire the day-tripper. The ordinary trail outside of these types of attractions can also ripened and feed the eyes.

If you look intently, you will find novelty in a window display, in a fashion maven who bumps into you on the sidewalk; in a handful of pebbles strewn on the roadway.

On the day trip trail of museums in Minneapolis, MN, we serendipitously ran into this "piece of art"

One of the best things about day trips is that they overwork the eyes and other senses as well.  Look and look some more…although we may be in a stagnant place of life…the world never is; feed upon its colors, its nuances; eat in everything…there’s plenty of pie for everyone, so dig in, enjoy and rejigger!


I took the news personally and was dizzy in delight to hear that Dick Allen, a Trumbull resident, was named Connecticut’s new poet laureate in June.

Canterbury (CT) Public Library: Ever think I could be as great as Connecticut’s new poet laureate Dick Allen?

In the late 1970s, after getting partially off a rollercoaster ride via the adolescent addiction route, I took a poetry writing class at the University of Bridgeport with Dick Allen.  At the time, I was sandwiched in between a drug-induced past, conveniently whisked away under a shatterproof floorboard of denial, and a future that I did not dare glimpse. 

In his classroom twice a week, I emerged from my dark and solely occupied cocoon.  When Mr. Allen read his poetry, the classroom’s walls boomeranged with intonations and a rhythmic style that could dissect, pluck and reach so far into my soul that the process shook and awakened those parts in me that had been so comfy and so sleepy, wrapped in inertia, for so damn long. Although it took nearly six more years for me to shed fully my Rip Van Winkle-esque existence, the first building blocks in that course of action Mr. Allen’s influence mortared.

In other words, Mr. Allen taught me that in order to experience great poetry, like great life, you have to be alert.  Listen intently.  Peel away the brainy part of the head so that the heart has the room that it requires to breathe fully and, yes, love without restraint.  Love every damn thing down to the wart. 

As I ventured forth to become a travel writer in the 1990s, I approached each newfound milieu with a keen ear, sharp eyes and overzealous appetite that Mr. Allen had first mirrored to me in his classroom.  On my journey, nothing, absolutely nothing, whether a gnawed chicken bone on a supper plate or ladybug on a car’s windshield was mediocre.  My ears heard poetry everywhere. 

On your next day trip, before summer bats her last eyelash, whether you go on a rollercoaster ride or hide away in an alcove at an out-of-the-way library, see, hear, breath poetry.  Get off the jaded road before it is too late to hear poetry for poetry is everywhere…fine tune the hearing.  Afterwards, pick up a book written by the present Connecticut’s poet laureate, go home and read the poetry out loud as if it will be your final voice; then take this same principle on your future travels.

Ferns

By Dick Allen

Almost invisible, but once you look for them
nearly everywhere
like moss in crevices and drifting thoughts,

ferns are what it must mean
to love without yearning. Protectors
of everything small that needs to disappear,

deermice and tossed trash, bad brushstrokes in a painting,
theirs is the softest name, the softest touch.
They are social workers

as social workers should be—so full of calm
even those who don’t trust them
come into their care. Fiddleheads or not,

the rumor that once a year, on Midsummer’s Eve,
ferns blossom with tiny blue flowers
and if a pinch of fern seed falls upon your shoes

you will be less apparent—this rumor
is baseless: ferns have tiny spores
that travel in dew and raindrops,

no more magical
than Henri Rousseau, composing “The Peaceable Kingdom,”
or adder’s tongues, cinnamon, wall rue.

In the world’s secret corners,
men wish to vanish, but ferns are what look on,
trembling, holding all light green places.

From Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Collected, Sarabande Books, 1997.

New Canaan, CT, Nature Center Greenhouse

 

 

 

Old Orchard Beach, ME, Pirate’s Cove Mini-Golf

Speaking of blue skies in the previous post, Big Skies Play the Blues,

summer seems to bring out the truest, bluest landscape. 

 

Have you taken the time to notice?  (Or are you too busy complaining about…how hot…humid…whatever it is?)

 On your next day trip, here’s your assignment (yes, that’s right, assignment; I am after all a teacher!):  Observe the blues.  Relish in them.  Feel grateful to be alive.  Feel grateful to see…wow, what a privilege.  Feel grateful to be and, just be.  Feel Grateful; live GREAT&ful.

♥♥♥♥

 Who shouted with glee when the color blue was born?

~ “The book of Questions,” Pablo Neruda

 

 

Old Orchard Beach, Maine: Beautiful Blues

 

You say there are no miracles?  Look above, no I’m not just talking heaven here, I’m talking that there have been some unbelievable sky masterpieces around our neck of the woods.  As I refresh, rejuvenate and rejigger* on my day-tripping experiences, I can’t get over the spectrum of blues ranging from robin egg to turquoise that have colored the sky. 

The clouds, too, have been potent and interesting.  You can spend an hour guessing what the puffy forms resemble.  The other day, I found mermaids, puppy dogs and rabbit ears!  Whether you live in Big Sky, Montana or Brisbane, Australia, as you take a day trip, remember to glance up at the summer’s sky.  It will take you where you need to be, in the here and now. 

Look up and feel the blood pressure go down.

*  “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

Sometimes you don't have to get out of the car to enjoy a day trip!

I had a friend tell me the other week that she had an overworked, overscheduled week that amounted to one long bad mood.  On Friday after work, she said she went to the beach bypassing the crowds and, instead, laid her body in the sun fully clothed on top of an empty picnic table.  Not that I’m advocating this sort of behavior since picnic tables are meant for sitting not laying on, but I do think it illustrates the point of getting a change of scenery without necessarily stepping totally inside the scene.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you don’t want to be a part of the world; in other words, instead of going fully into the community sandbox, you want to sit on the edge.  This limbo position I believe serves its purpose.  Once, while I was conducting a program at the Norma Pfreim Breast Care Center, a woman shared an inspiring story.  After she had lost her husband at a very young age to cancer, she found herself isolated and grieving alone for weeks on end.  One day she decided to go out—but not all the way out.  Lo and behold, she went on a day trip.  She drove herself to an outdoor summer festival.  Mind you, she did not leave her car.  She sat in her front seat as an observant.  Kids laughed.  Adults noshed on pizza and ice cream.  Ferris wheels whirled.  The scene gave the woman hope in that it served as a symbolic transition that one day she too would join life again.

So, on those days that you feel you don’t want to be a part of things, remember you don’t always have to get into the sandbox to have a good time and refresh, rejuvenate and rejigger.*

*  “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

 

Outside a window of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry--Nature's Museum!

Early in my travel-writing career while writing about amusement parks, I learned an indispensible truth: travel in a counter clockwise direction.  In other words, from the main entrance gate when the crowds go left (modus operandi in amusement parks), you go counter clockwise, right. 

Sometimes the best way to refresh, rejuvenate and rejigger,* is to take the opposite direction from the crowds.  Once taking a day trip at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I followed the crowds onward, eyes straight ahead, until, that is, I looked outside a window in the  museum and saw nature’s museum. In a patch of sweet hued and sweet fragrance gardens, butterflies danced and flitted.  The dramatic movements made my mind break into a lyrical version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  So now when I think back to my Chicago day trip, I recall not one museum perspective, but two!

Outside a window of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry--Nature's Museum!

And that’s what I learned from my backyard therapy experiences,  instead of looking straight ahead, look up or down; instead of going in the direction of the crowd, go counter clockwise…sometimes going against the tide gives you the most memorable vantage point. 

Look up!

Next backyard therapy adventure: Look in far-off areas!

Tucked behind the grand piano, The Spencer Hotel, Chautauqua, NY

Skip the hotdogs & eat Thai Food this July 4th! (Bangkok Restaurant, Danbury, CT)

One of my friend Eileen’s favorite Christmas memories was going to a Chinese restaurant and a movie with her newly divorced daughter.  Eileen was a recent widow, and her daughter did not have custody of her children on that particular Christmas Day.  As she shared about the novelty of this adventure, her face glowed in glee.  Historically, her family had always celebrated Christmases past with a traditional holiday feast and presents.  On what marked a holiday that both women had initially dreaded turned out to be one of the best ones (except the absence of the young children did tug on their heartstrings) that they had ever experienced.

On this same note, my friend Dian, who used to spend oodles of money buying Christmas gifts for her grown-up daughters, now takes them on exotic trips instead—talk about elevating experiences over things!  Don’t even ask which holidays stay in the forefront of this family’s mind!

A very important thing that my day-tripping experiences have taught me is that I can basically do what I want and with whom I choose.  So as we celebrate Independence Day weekend, I like to think about my independence and what would best suit my family’s lifestyle to refresh, rejuvenate and rejigger.*  The fact is, we don’t have to watch the fireworks.  We don’t have to have hamburgers and hot dogs.  We don’t even have to think about the meaning of the holiday.  When the kids were little and my travel-writing career was booming, in fact, most of our most memorable July 4ths were spent at places ranging from Thai restaurants  to museums.  We also spent a few exciting Independence Day weekends watching firework displays in faraway towns, miles away from our home. 

Thai food on the July Fourth? Definitely! (Bangkok Restaurant, Danbury, CT)

Day-tripping experiences have really taught me my preferences, and that I have the power to choose where I want to go as much as I have the power to choose whether or not I will have a good day, but, of course, going on a day trips sprinkles fairy dust on any given day.

Happy, safe 4th of July; celebrate in your own fashion!

*  “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

Consummate Author! Consummate Journalist! Consummate Motivator!

Through simple secrets to a happier life like day-trip adventures and a gratitude journal by the bedside, I have not only been able to overcome many obstacles in my life, but erase negative and useless thinking…and, yes, learn to relax, rejuvenate, rejigger. *

Rejigger *

* “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,269 other followers

Archives

Day Trip Travel — Experiences Over Things

cattalespress@optimum.net

Join 1,269 other followers