Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!

Things are not always what they seem

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As the nights began to get colder and the days grew shorter, a non-conforming sparrow decided not to fly South for the winter. The winds shifted, the snow began to fly and the mercury dropped to frigid levels.  Realizing the decision not to go South was horribly wrong, the sparrow reluctantly began its journey to a warmer climate.

The elements exploded from the winter sky and battered the poor bird.  Soon ice began to form on its tiny wings and the sparrow could no longer remain in flight.  The wind and snow volleyed the bird in mid-air and the sparrow fell to the Earth, landing in a barnyard.  Its heartbeat was weak and the sparrow faced the inevitability of freezing to death in the vast expanse of farm land.

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(image credit)

No sooner had the bird given in to its undeniable fate, when a cow wandered dangerously close to the dying bird, lifted its tail and crapped on the sparrow.  Stunned by the irony of being shit on while it slowly died, the bird began to feel warm.  The heat from the cow patty was melting the frost and the bird began to feel its heart pounding stronger and stronger with each beat.

With growing warmth and a sudden optimism, the bird began to sing.  It celebrated its narrow escape of impending death.  It basked in the glory of being to continue its journey South and it laughed in the face of fate itself.

The sparrow’s song grew so loud that the bird did not hear the approach of the feral barn cat.  Investigating the sounds, the cat circled the bird and pounced, clearing the cow patty and carrying the now deceased bird back to its lair for a late supper.

There are lessons to be learned from every story.  Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.  Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend and if you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

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This was a joke I remember hearing when I was in high school.  I embellished a bit (no surprise there) but I think the lessons are still worthy of sharing.

 

 

 

Uncovering the wrong letter in the word team

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When you work with people for a significant amount of time, you not only become a real team but, you become friends.  You get to know the nuances of each team members character and you learn to blend your strengths with theirs.  They help to balance your weakness and you do the same for them.  It becomes an unspoken rule that you have each others’ back and treat each other with the utmost respect because you have developed a real bond at your job.

But, unfortunately, teams change.  Members of the group that you have come to know and admire often move on causing the dynamic in the team to become drastically altered.  People tend to cling to the familiar faces expecting them to be their closest allies but that is not always the case.   The feeling of working together suddenly changes and it now feels like you are working for the team and not with the team.

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When the faces of the group are substantially different, there is usually a member of the original group that will try to use that reality to their advantage.  Any allegiance that existed has been replaced by their valiant effort to get ahead and shine brighter than the other employees.  They insinuate themselves into the role of the “a-hole” and become the only “i” in the word team.

I have met many of these “i” people.  Usually the ones who had assumed this new identity shocked and disappointed me.  We had worked well together but when the opportunity of advancement presented itself they didn’t think twice about using me as a wrung on the ladder of their ultimate success.

I’m happy I was able to move beyond those people.  I didn’t dwell on their negative traits but focused solely on my positive traits and moved forward.  I chose to enjoy the hours I spend at work with a new team that appreciated my contributions.  I chose to be a part of a group where I could thrive and where my efforts would not be a stepping stone for that one person who didn’t know how to properly define or spell the word team.

 

Hearing the most important voice

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I did something yesterday that I sincerely hope I remember to never do again – I bought a fully processed and synthetic lunch because I had failed to prepare my own.  What seemed like a good idea at the time came back to haunt me a few hours later when every part of my body screamed in disgust.

Recently I have been very smart about my food choices.  With only the occasional “treat”, I have been preparing all of my own meals so I know exactly what my body is ingesting and I have really enjoyed cooking again and experimenting in the kitchen.  The only processed items that have passed my lips are the ones that I have processed myself so I know what kind of food is in my food.  My body made it abundantly clear today that it will no longer put up with my bad choices and laziness when it comes to preparing my own meals.

It is simple to adhere to a proper diet when you take a few moments to prepare in advance.  I love when I have a full day in the kitchen and am able to think ahead about what I want to use to fuel my body for the coming week.  I make all of my own soups and freeze them so I am not overwhelmed by the hidden sodium and preservatives in canned soups.  I make ‘Salad-in-a-Jar’ for each day of the week and sometimes even prepare sectioned grapefruit or ‘Refrigerator Oatmeal’ for breakfasts.  It takes the guess-work and stress out of having to prepare meals each morning for the work day ahead and it can prevent those bad choices when you are hungry and pressed for time.

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Salad in a jar was an amazing discovery for me.  I bought a case of Mason Jars and made a week’s worth of salads for lunch.  Each day I opened a jar onto a plate, the lettuce was still crisp and it was a quick way to have a healthy lunch.  For those of you who may have heard of these but never tried them, I urge you to buy some jars and spend and hour on the weekend making your lunches for a week.  Knowing those go-to lunches are always there during your work week will alleviate the stress of wondering what you will eat at the office and you can add any ingredients you like to your salad.

I listened to my body today and got the message loud and clear.  I’m not 25 anymore.  I can’t just eat what is available and go about my day without ever giving it a second thought.

Your body’s voice is the most important voice you will ever hear and you should heed its advice.   It will be more honest with you than any of your friends or your family and only has its best interest at heart.

 

Of Mice and Men in the attic – fiction

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After hearing the word mispronounced, with the emphasis on the wrong syllable, she had an idea of what to do with the wretched people who would not allow her solace.  Fanatic – indeed they were.  They camped out in her driveway, followed her everywhere but, one by one, they became smaller in numbers.  Her “fan-attic”, mind you, was becoming rather full.  She hoped the smell would dissipate.

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66 Word Micro-Fiction written for the Chimera Challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  This week’s challenge is to write a piece using the word ‘Fanatic’ – noun – a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal.  (image credit)

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Take a bite of a story and digest it thoroughly

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“The man who reads lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen.  The man who never reads lives only one.”

 George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

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There is something divinely quieting about a good book.  It can take all of the external forces in our lives and make them seem non-existent for a few well-deserved moments. Losing ourselves in a great story line can give us a temporary escape from reality and take us on a journey to a life outside of our own.

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Although authors don’t write with us in mind, their words can give us a momentary reprieve from the demons that stalk us throughout our busy days and that try to dwell in the hours that we would like to thrive in after the work day is done.  When you open that novel or turn on that E-reader, the chaotic minutes that you have survived during your work day cease to matter and the outside world becomes a distant memory.

If you are one of the fortunate few who can switch that après-work brain to the “off” position, you are able to allow yourself to become fully involved in the plot line that the author has created and send yourself on a journey far beyond the realm of your existence.  The words on the page seep into your mind and transport you to a place and time ever distant from the here and now.

Those words, the way they are woven into a complex story line, allow us the ability to sink into a world of imagery and intrigue.  They give us the opportunity to leave our stress behind, to leave the world in which we live and venture into the fabricated journey of elusive enjoyment.  Those words have the power to enlighten us, torture us, amuse us and keep reality at bay as long as we will let them.

We owe it to ourselves to relish those moments of escape.  We deserve to embrace the worlds beyond our own and tune out the brash sounds of our real lives by bathing in the dulcet tones of pure fantasy.  Do yourself a favor…..grab a book, turn off the television and let yourself be transported by words.  You will be surprised at how simple it is to be carried away by your imagination.

Now, if you’ll excuse me….it’s time to shut the world out and take that first bite.

A slight “paws” in my heart beat

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My dog is near me more often than not.  She has become an extension of me and that bond has only been strengthened over this past winter because she has been able to come to work with me when the lodge is quiet.  It may seem like an unnatural relationship to those who do not understand the dynamic between human and canine but I cannot imagine my life without her.

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My two best friends were visiting over the past weekend and Callaway and I got to spend some much-needed time reconnecting with them.  It was great to see them and know that my puppy is just as fond of them as I am.

On Saturday morning while I was working, “Auntie Sami” had offered to take Callaway for a walk to her cottage which is a few short kilometers from the lodge.  A short time later, my cell phone rang and my heart missed a beat when I saw the number.  It was Sam and my brain automatically switched into panic mode.  I immediately began to formulate scenarios of what had potentially happened to my dog even before I answered the phone.  I calmly picked up the call and heard that Callaway was nowhere to be seen.

I trusted that she was fine but, being the protective mother I am, I sprinted across the parking lot to my car and began the short drive to the cottage.  Before I was even halfway out the first road, I saw a very familiar black shape in the middle of the road.  I slowed my car, whistled and watched as a ton of loyalty on four legs came sprinting down the road.  She jumped into the car and we made our way to the cottage to pick up Sam and tell her everything was fine.

Poor Sam was still searching for Callaway when we pulled up beside her.  As it turns out, Sam had deemed that everything in her cottage was fine and made a comment to my dog about going back to find mommy.  When Sam bent down to tighten the straps of her snow-shoes, Callaway had taken it upon herself to do just that and began running back to the lodge to find me.  She was out of Sam’s eyesight before Sam had stood back up and she was smart enough to make the necessary turns and follow the two roads back to the lodge.

I wish everyone could have the opportunity to have a dog.  I wish everyone could experience that type of loyalty and unconditional love.  I’m not her pack leader.  I am her family.