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Maybe the reason I have engaged with people living on the fringes of society was something deep inside me that has whispered from time to time, “One day, that will be you.” That voice has been more frequent and louder these past few years.
Then again, it may simply be that I enjoy hearing stories from as many people as possible. I want to hear something new. I want to have my worldview challenged. I want to understand how what society does or doesn’t do effects people living in the shadows. Much of what these people have experienced in their lives, I have never seen first hand (thankfully) let alone experienced. Without hearing their stories I would be blind to how many of societies rules make their lives harder not better. Imagine the changes that would be made if every elected politician had to spend a month living on the fringes.
The only way to experience the world is to get out in it and talk with people whose voices you rarely read in books or see on TV. There are billions of worlds out there that I will never come into contact with. I hope I live long enough to hear a few thousand voices.
I was raised to pick up trash that I saw. Imagine a world where everyone did that? Anyway here is a short excerpt from one of my all time favorite books, on the subject.
Never pass up an opportunity to leave a place BETTER OFF than you found it
Chairs left sitting away from the table, litter in the park, an item in the grocery store sitting on the floor, there are always things that can be picked up, put up, or straightened up to make where you just were better off than how it was when you arrived. Looking for these things not only allows you to do a good deed—which often makes you feel better—but it also keeps you connected to the moment which is the only place where life can be truly lived.
Start looking for ways to tidy up your surroundings!
I have carried a silver dollar in my pocket for most of my life. There is no faster way to arrive at a decision than flipping a coin. Now, quite often, I don’t flip it to tell me what to do, I flip it to force a decision. If I claim I can’t decide if I should go grab a burger or stay home and eat a salad, a coin flip helps me decide. When the coin lands saying I should stay home and eat the salad, I check my reaction to that choice. If it feels right, I do what the coin picked BUT when my gut doesn’t like the coins choice, I follow my gut.
Today, I am doing something I only do when I feel I am stuck in a rut. I allow the coin to choose and I then that is what I do. Now, since I decide what questions to ask, I am still limiting the possibilities and not truly letting the coin choose randomly for me. One day, if enough people show interest, I’ll create a little app that is more random, making selections from a list of items based upon how much I look forward to doing a task as well as the long-term benefits of doing said task. Maybe I should flip a coin to see if I should write the app.
This is what I think of when thinking about the news. It opens with commentary from David Brinkley and then is followed by news. News read by a single person. No table surrounded by four or five talking head experts telling us what they think or even worse, what it all means and how we should feel about it.
I used to have the premium version and it was a godsend. It caught those little items that I always missed, pointing out when I got sloppy and used your instead of yours. (It seems my brain and fingers are often at different points in the writing process.) It also would tell me about my “incomplete sentence” and I, more often than not, would ignore it. Storytelling is about taking the reader on a voyage not worrying about proper grammar all the time. If the words made sense, I let them be, but there were many times when words were missing or the wrong word had made its way into the text.
Soon, I hope, I will be able to once again have the premium version of Grammarly but for now, the free version is still quite helpful.
In grade school I did a report on Goddard. Back in the days before the Internet it took me a few weeks to get the books I needed from the library.
I recall doing some illustrations of one of Goddard’s rockets. I do not recall what grade I got for the report.
I also recall doing a report about Apollo 11 a few years earlier. I kept that report for years, but eventually, during one of my many moves, it went from the keep to the throw away pile. I remember it was in a blue folder and that I got an A.
I wonder how many memories will be moved from the keep to the throw away pile in my upcoming move? What treasures will be lost simply due to stress and simply wishing to move on?
Professor David Block and Nelson Mandela.
Here are some of the things I came across online regarding Professor David Block.
I really need to get in touch with this man!
If you want to watch a show with a STRONG female character, this is the one to watch. It has that mix of “darkness” (in this case mostly murder) laced with just enough humor to keep it from being to true to life as to be depressing.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is the second show out of Australia that I have enjoyed watching recently. I cannot recall the name of the other show right now but when I do I will share it with you.
But now, like all shows, it has come to an end. All I can do is imagine what the characters are off doing. What is happening in their lives. What events are filling their newspapers and what shows are being broadcasts over their radios. I would love to hear Miss Fisher’s favorite song or discover what book she has just read or what radio programme Dot is listening to these days.
I am certain that we are not far from being able to keep stories going, forever.
Soon, never-ending-stories will be here. I know it. I just hope I am a part of making it so.
I would love to have your help in making sure that my story about a message in a bottle and a billionaire lives up to my vision. A story without gender, race, or location. A story the inspires and challenges. A story this world is crying out for right now.
If you would like to help, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you.
This is going to be fun. Besides, when’s the last time you got to collaborate with a fictional character? (One that exists somewhere other than in your head.)
Nerd applied to the things I did, like having a card catalog for my books or 3×5 cards listing the worlds 100 tallest peaks. Nerd did not include the stereotypical nonathletic moniker.
In my youth, I played the following sports (most as part of an organized league):
As an adult, I played and coached Hockey.
I also first shot a gun at the age of six and spent many a weekend out in the woods hunting with my friends. (Somehow we never managed to shot one another.)
I have fond memories of walking to the library with my mom. I was four when we made our first journey to that magical place. I don’t recall if they gave me my own library card but if they did, and I still had it, it would be one of my most cherished possession.
The library was just under a mile from our house and I don’t recall us ever driving there. The walk was part of the adventure, the anticipation of the books we would find while on our way there, followed by the urge to run home so we could start reading them.
I also recall reading the newspaper to my mom starting when I was seven. Reading a grown-up newspaper, while my mom listened, was pure heaven. Watching the news on the TV was depressing yet, somehow, reading that same news in the paper was uplifting.
I still have a copy of every Dr. Seuss book in my personal library, along with an illustrated biography of his life.
Police officers uncovered dozens of pot-laced sweets.
Daniel Lincoln, 39, was pulled over by officers who witnessed him conduct a drug transaction in the parking lot, police said.
“All I have is weed,” he told cops, according to a police report — an admission police say was quite the understatement.
Inside his Ford F-150 mobile shop, officers found dozens of drug-laced sweets, including eight gummy squares, 162 gummy bears, 10 chocolate bars, 34 tins containing chocolate THC, five packs of chocolate THC with six pieces per pack, 14 packs of chocolate chip cookies, and eight weed-infused Rice Krispie treats, according to court documents.
The ptarmigan, often called the snow chicken in the United States.
Isolated being the key for me. I like being able to get out of town in just a few minutes, not hours. I love knowing someone no matter which store or restaurant I wander into.
There was a time when I also loved the cold. I recall going hunting and being able to put a few beers in our coat pockets and them never getting warm. Think we killed more beers than wildlife, then again it was the walk, conversation, and beer that made each hunt memorable, not the occasional rabbit or ptarmigan.
Ptarmigan, I laugh every time I come across the word. Did you know that Chicken Alaska (it’s a real place) was supposed to be named Ptarmigan but since they could not agree on how to spell ptarmigan, and not wanting to be embarrassed if they got it wrong, they settled on Chicken. They could spell Chicken. I have never actually been there but maybe one day I will.
My dad is such a kidder. This picture is from halloween a few years back. Those medals he is wearing he bought at a pawn shop.
Their life was what I envisioned Deb and me would experience. Still as in love at ninety as we were at twenty. Cancer had other plans.
This letter is bound for that special place where my keepsakes reside. The mickey mouse pocket watch Deb surprised me with one year. The photo of Deb from high school, with her note on the back, and the tape where it had been torn in half. The letter from my dad when I was six and his work took him away from home for most all of 1966. A Tibetan khata (ceremonial prayer scarf) my mom received from the Dalai Lama in 2006 and gave to me.
Funny thing about $30,000, that’s the number I had set when I was twenty-six as my minimum monthly salary by the time I reached sixty.
Two years ago, I was almost there.
Too bad “almost” doesn’t pay the bills.
It took me a good thirty minutes to get over the shock that overtook me when, after I balked at the $1,500 retainer, the lawyer said, “You haven’t made your condo payment in five or six months, so you should have all that savings in the bank.”
Even to this day I get rattled just thinking about that conversation. Was the lawyer implying that nonpayment was not due to a lack of funds but simply me not wanting to make a payment?
Over the past year, I have found this belief to be a widely held one among individuals who work in the credit collection and bankruptcy field.
As bills became 120 days past due, I started getting letters offering to settle for less “than what was owed.” The $20,000 I owed would be written off if as paid in full if I gave them $7,800 in the next ten days. If I couldn’t do that, they would settle for three monthly payments of $2,666. If I had $7,800, I would still be making the $467 monthly payment. Heck, if I had had the $2,666 I would not be behind on payments.
But, people must be agreeing to and making these reduced, paid in full, payments, otherwise, they would not be making the offer.
I am not dumb, but I sure don’t understand finances. But then again I also don’t understand why the bank charges me of someone writes me a bad check. I didn’t do it. And if the funds are still there in my account, why do they need to charge me a fee when they remove it? Same holds true for bank fees, the lower your income, the higher the fees.
Every click opens a door to more information about the story. It can be text, images, audio, video, and maybe even a text message to your phone.
You never know where the click may lead but it will always be worth making the click!
Here’s a little something for all of you baby boomers to enjoy!
The closest I have ever come to Antigua and Barbuda was the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was there back in 1996 or 97, looking at a piece of property an actress friend of mine was trying to sell me.
She needed money.
I had money.
I liked the Caribbean.
But, in the end, I decided not to buy the property after all. To this day I wonder if she even owned the property. I did “loan” her $10,000—I wish I had that $10,000 today.
Antigua is the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, it is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Mount Obama (1319 ft.), formerly known as Boggy Peak, located in the southwestern corner of the island.
Barbuda is a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, and it lies approximately 30 miles due north of Antigua. The nation also includes the tiny (0.6 square miles) uninhabited island of Redonda, which is a nature preserve. The current population of the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.
To this day I wonder why an individual’s accent effects how I perceive them. Is it my DNA? My culture? Stereotypes from TV and movie characters? Just what is it that triggers my initial reaction?
Why does a person with a Southern Twang get labeled dimwitted but nice, while an English accent gets labeled intelligent?
Numerous studies show that we instantly attach cultural stereotypes and subjective judgments about people’s knowledge and abilities from hearing their accent in speech. A 2011 study by Rakic and others found that in categorizing people, a person’s accent carried more weight than even visual cues to ethnicity. Americans can be taken back when hearing a black person speak with a proper British accent, for example, or be just as perplexed when they discover that a rapper singing with a “black” accent is Caucasian.
~ R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American Mind
Maybe the first step to ending my accent bias is to admit that I have one and do all I can to evolve past it.
I was an early adopter of the Amazon Echo (often referred to as Alexa—the word you say to let the Echo know you wish to communicate with it).
The main reason I wanted Alexa in my life was my love of listening to music and talk radio from around the world and being able to do it when not at my computer.
I grew up listening to short wave radio stations on a radio I bartered from my dad. It was not until I was well into my thirties that I came to realize the wisdom behind my dad’s philosophy of not simply giving things to my siblings and me (birthdays and Christmas being the exceptions). Having to pay or barter for an item made owning it all the sweeter. It also ensured that I took good care of it. f I broke it, I would be the one paying to replace it.
The first thing I did, once I had configured Alexa, was to have it read “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I love the story and, more importantly, the author’s voice. The author has one of the best voices for narration, it’s right up there with Sir David Attenborough and Mike Rowe (click this link you won’t regret it!). I remember using a cassette tape recorder back in the 1970s to record nature shows (off TV) narrated by David Attenborough.
I have Alexa reading books, playing music, and podcasts, and radio stations daily. I even have an Amazon Dot which I keep in the kitchen, so I can listen while I cook or do the dishes.
Now, believe it or not, there is one thing I often yearn for while listening, the static. I would not want the sound to fade in and out or have the pop and crackle all the time, but every so often (especially when listening to old time radio shows) there is a bit of static and I am transported back to my youth laying on my bed listening to voices from around the world.