Grasshopper Mind
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2024

NEED A PLUMBER

MAY 20, 2024

 

Plumbers have my utmost respect and admiration.  Some of the jobs they undertake are most unappetizing. Their good humor, patience, and stoic attitude is priceless.  When you need a plumber, there is no short cut or substitute.  Plumbers are in high demand.

 

Recently, I needed a plumber.  You could say it was an emergency.  It looked like my guest room ceiling was ready to collapse because of an obvious leak from the great unknown. 

 

Hello Plumbing Company, I have an emergency.  I’m a long-time customer.  Here’s the problem… “We have a lot of emergencies today, “says Ms. Kind Receptionist, “I will send someone the minute they are free.”  It looks like water is still building up, and the ceiling could cave in any moment.”  “Yes, that does happen.  Our crew will take care of it. They will be there as soon as possible.” 

 

With the help of friends, I installed tarps, buckets, and tried to protect anything in the line of danger.  And watched the clock and the ceiling.  Where are they?  This is a disaster waiting to happen.

 

Three hours later the plumbing crew arrived.   The ceiling had not collapsed.  The crew tore open the ceiling, located the problem (a big one), and went to work.  “How long do you expect this to take?” I asked.  “No idea,” was the honest response, “we’ll do our best.”  And they did.

 

Why am I sharing this temporary misfortune?  It occurred to me that Ms. Kind Receptionist must make priority decisions with every call she receives.  She has to weigh the facts, the depth of the problem involved, who or what will be affected, how quickly this problem needs to be resolved.  Sound familiar?  Just like our life decisions.

 

So, the message - which I personally needed: Trust the service person you are asking for emergency help. They have usually mastered the art of recognizing urgent emergencies.  Because of their skills, we all benefit. 

 

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DOING WHAT YOU ENJOY ...

APRIL 14, 2024

Earlier today I was talking with a remarkable individual.  He’s had an interesting life, filled with unique people, places and challenges.  He is an artist, a writer, and a life-long believer in carving a path for others to share.

 

My conversation was around a young woman who seemed to share similar talents.  She was becoming discouraged by what she called a lack of ‘real’ success.  What, I asked, would be his advice for her?

 

The response was so simple, prefaced by the words … this is not advice, it is opinion.  In his opinion, if you really enjoy doing something then do it without expectations.  Just keep doing it.  Stick with it.  Being a baseball lover, he used a baseball analogy … “observation informs me that the more you step up to the plate, the better chance you have of getting a hit.”  And proceeded to name friends who had done just that. Not necessarily getting hits, but continuing to try.

 

Enjoy what you’re doing.  No expectations. For the pure joy of it.  What a way to start each day.

 

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UNDER THE RUG ...

APRIL 3, 2024

 

My family would be shocked to hear me share a ‘housekeeping’ tip from our sister Kathleen.  She was a reader, daydreamer, and not attracted to mundane chores.

In an emergency, and often because she just couldn’t be bothered, Kathleen’s remedy was to sweep offending crumbs, dust bunnies, or anything else that would fit – under the rug.

 

When I was younger, I thought this was a great solution to a messy or problem situation.  Hide it.

 

As I got older, I realized the ‘mess’ under the rug didn’t magically disappear. The 'mess' grew, ruined the floor underneath, and sometimes left a dreadful odor and bigger problem.  Eventually, and usually by someone else, what was under the rug had to be dealt with.

 

And such is life. Hard to hide embarrassing moments, errors, or smells-fishy deals.  Our sweeping them under the rug guarantees – come discovery day -  the dust bunnies will have multiplied.

 

That’s what bunnies and secrets do.

 

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Just can't get it right can I?

MARCH 19, 2024

I used to know how to type AND spell ... 

 

Sorry Confucius ... didn't mean to drop the 'i' out of your famous name.

 

And, not to waste good time and paper ... another Confucius quote:

"Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes."

 

Thank you Confucius.

SAY THAT AGAIN

MARCH 19, 2024

 

 

I've never thought of  myself as super sensitive. Still, there are some comments and phrases that send annoying signals to my brain.  The words don't have to be mean, ill intended, or coarse.  They are usually oridnary words, spoken in an ordinary conversation.  And yet --

 

When someone says to me, 'just let me explain that to you ...' My heckles go up.   Or, 'you don't seem to understand..' Yes, I understand, I simply don't agree with you. Other  itchy words to my ears are, 'well obviously'.  No, it is not obviousor I wouldn't be asking the question.  When a self appointed critic looks at something and says 'that's WRONG' my eyes get a certain glint. Each of these remarks, and more, tend to suggest there is only one answer; and it's most defnitely theirs. 

 

What is it that affects my brain? Not the words.  It's the presention of the words. Instead of let me explain that to you, if the individual said ...'let's see if we can figure that out.'  All ears.  Rather than 'you don't seem to understand,'  perhaps 'that's a tricky one, let's look at it.'   Oh, thank you.  Change 'well obviously..'  to 'what do you think?'   For the scholar who announces 'that's WRONG' how about 'Does that look right to you?' I look again ...Hmmn, maybe not.

 

Words are powerful - the way they are presented makes them even more powerful.  We learn from questions.  We remember the answers.  We enjoy being part of a good plan or conversation.  It makes us feel like contributors.  

 

A message from Confucus.  "Tell me and I'll forget.  Show me and I'll remember.  Involve me and I'll understand."  Some of these old adages still hold mighty truths.

 

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WHAT'S THIS ?

MARCH 9, 2024

If your earlier Grasshopper had strange hieroglyphs .. apologies.  I have absolutely no idea from whence they came...and it would take this Luddite too long to figure it out.

SUCCESS is ...

MARCH 9, 2024

 

 

This past week I attended a truly enjoyable luncheon. ​The event was to honor ​students and women who had made a difference. ​ I left there inspired.

 

My inspiration came from cheering the accomplishments of ​so many  women - both young and older​.  It came from hearing​ their messages of hope.  It came from listening to stories of failure, determination, and the real meaning of success. ​ 

 

Two​ quotes from the speeches - which, happily, were more like pleasant conversations than boisterous boasting​, hit a chord.  One speaker asked us 'not to confuse kindness with weakness.'  The other begged us to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  ​Both should be on our daily to-do lists.  This was the 39th year for this particular luncheon. Never during all those years have we needed those reminders more than we do today.

 

The luncheon was on a University Campus.  The room was filled with past, present and future leaders.  The speakers and our surroundings reminded us ​t​hat leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.​ The 'breaking news' junkies were jolted into realizing information is not knowledge.  Lots of heads nodding in agreement.

 

The final take-away was from Elbert Hubbard:  She/he has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much.

 

Yes.  It was a memorable day.   Now I can just remember and put into practice all I #learned.

 

 

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YOU CAN'T THROW IT AWAY

FEBRUARY 18, 2024

What to do on dark and dreary days? The kind of days  when the outdoors do not look inviting.  Some of us read, write, play mind games, call friends.    And then there are the neat freaks.  We play a game called What can I get rid of?  I played that game again recently.

 

A lof of the decisions were easy.  Old CD's - out.  Pointy-toed shoes- away you go.  Pillows without purpose?  Gone.  And then we come to the drawer (it used to be a box) titled cards, letters, friend photos, kids drawings.   Each gets a new review.  Everything jolts a memory. Brings a smile.  Begs the question - whatever happened to?  Before you know it, hours have gone by.  Not a single item or memory has been added to the 'done with you' pile.

 

Strange, or maybe not so strange, what we value.  What gives us forever joy.  It's never the once loved 'stuff.'  It's the threads of our lives.  The message that says 'it's a  lonesome old town when you're not around...'  Aaaw.  Letters from your exuberant college aged kids. You really said that?   Baby photos.  Oh my gosh, look at them now.  It is the mosaic of people and places that have shaped who and what we are.

 

How could we throw any of our life away?  How dare anyone think of it as clutter.  Back into the magical drawer you go.  In the meantime, when the next decluttering urge hits; there will likely be two drawers titled 'this is life, do not throw away.'

 

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DON'T SAY YOU'RE BORED

FEBRUARY 3, 2024

On rare occasions during my growing up years, I'd moan that I was bored.  The annoying and unsympathetic response was always: Life is boring only to boring people. Well, I certainly did not want to be one of those.   If I persisted about the lack of anything interesting to do 'around here,' a variety of opportunities would immediately be presented.

 

The opportunities usually involved domestic chores, helping an elderly neighbor, or worst of all going to the grocery store.  You can see why audible  'boring' moans were rare.  The results were never in my favor.  The cure for boredom in our home was to keep moving, stay busy, make yourself useful.

 

Our parents believed if we spent too much time thinking about ourselves it would lead to afflications worse than boredom. They were convinced self absoprtion would hamper our brains from expanding, and even worse - it would lead to laziness. Laziness being high up on their list of mortal sins. 

 

If I close my eyes, I can still hear 'don't tell me there is nothing to do, there is always something to do. Just look around.'

 

Once again - they were right.  Look around.  There's always something to do .  Some of the things to do are actaully fun and refreshing.

 

Make yourself useful ... 

 

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THE SOUND OF SILENCE

JANUARY 19, 2024

Remember when your mother would raise her arm, and sometimes her voice,  and say 'STOP all that noise. I can't hear myself think.'   As a youngster I'd wonder - how silly is that? Who can hear themselves think? Now, as restorative quiet becomes more scarce, I understand.

 

I used to relish my quiet solo walks.  It was a time to clear my head.  Let new thoughts find a place to lodge. I'd return home rejuvenated.  Those renewing walks seem  a long noisy time ago

 

 

Today my walk was filled with the noise of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, barking dogs, other walkers on their phones, automobiles with music blaring.  I returned home with a furrowed brow, and a headache.

 

Why is  quietness so difficult to find ?  AI can create artistic masterpieces, we can put humans on the moon, produce driverless cars.  Is there a reason we can't make silent lawn mowers, 'phones that don't beep, elevators that don't give inane instructions - floor 7, step back, the door is closing.  Why must every waiting room, restaurant, and even restrooms have  background music?   Are robots trying to further reduce all human conversation? Have we become allergic to silence?

 

There are many enjoyable sounds that break the stillness.  The sound of the wind, rain, even thunder and lightning. Hearing small children prattling together.  The sounds of life.  The sounds we should  listen to.

 

The rest?  As an almost-Luddite, I raise my arms in a silent plea - 'stop all that noise ... I can't hear myself think.'

 

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PROOF IS IN THE OUTCOME

JANUARY 4, 2024

This week I attended  a 92nd birthday celebration for a good friend.  Nothing unusual about that, you say?  This gathering was not just unusual, it was fun, thought provoking, and rare. The honoree was a man, the party was planned and hosted by his wife of 60+ years.  All the guests were women, fondly referrred to and accepted with joyful smiles, as 'the chics."

 

Our birthday fellow got to speak to his chic friends.  No notes.  Memories and magic.  His focus was not on pride in his many accomplishments and awards. It was on gratitude. He was grateful for his family, and named each one.  He was grateful for friends.  For the opportunity to serve - his country, his community, and those in need of support.  Gratitude oozed out of every pore of his being.

 

The chics beamed.  Their admiration and inspiration had been well placed. This was their friend who helped shatter the glass ceiling because it was the right thing to do.  Because it was just.  Because he was grateful for the opportunity to create needed change.

 

Once again - that magic word - gratitude - speaks calmy over the years.  The proof it works was on display as we listened to our friend. 

 

Here's to age 93 and and beyond.

One of the grateful chics.

 

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