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A Comedy of Perils

Introduction

In 2010, I had been a nurse for less than two years and was working the night shift at a local hospital. One night, I had a sweet patient who was a wise and lovely older woman. She was witness to my gracefulness when I got tangled in the curtain between the two beds. While I was escaping from the curtain, I bumped into her bedside table, which caused her cup of water to fall over and drip onto the floor. I dropped my pen when I was en route to finding a towel to clean up the water, and while bending over to pick it up, my glasses fell off of my face. She giggled at me and said, “You are a comedy of perils!” I got the biggest kick out of that! She made my major klutziness sound almost elegant. By the way, I thought that word started with a “C.” You know, “clutziness.” Learn something new every day! Anyway, I thought, “Yep. That’s me!” I decided that if I were ever to write a book, that would be its title. 

And, I am in the process of writing my book, A Comedy of Perils, and have 63,604 words written/typed, so far! The book’s description: A collection of hilarious, true-life, you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up stories, thoughts, quips and quotes, scattered throughout and interspersed within the traumatic experiences, tragedies, and heartbreak which, through its process of being typed, slowly morphed into my memoirs. 

To my wise and lovely patient, if you are reading this, I dedicate my book title to you.

Last night, my eldest daughter, Amber, suggested that I start a blog. She said, “You can make money doing that!” Really? Make money typing stuff for the world to read? (You know, kind of like publishing a book. Haha). She said, “You’re a professional.” What? Me?? You can get paid for that??? It turns out, you really can, and many bloggers make substantial incomes, too. I spent some time researching it before going to bed and woke up with it on my mind. I read through the guidelines on bloggingbasics101.com and voila! Here I am, a blogger. Who’d uh thunk it?! As promised, Amber, my blog is dedicated to you, for without your inspirational and vocal nudge, I would not have imagined doing this, at all. Thank you. I love you. 

I’ve also done a lot of research on how to get my book published. Traditional publishers prefer authors who have a “large online presence.” I guess that makes sense. If you already have an audience, you already have potential buyers for your book. I doubt that my Facebook page and my enthusiastic and supportive 50 or so readers qualify as a significant presence. Still, blogging is a great way to achieve it! So, let’s do this blogging thing!

“Seek and ye shall find.”

If you seek something to be pissed about; you shall find it.

If you seek something to scare the shit out of you; you shall find it.

If you seek something to prove that the world is a horrible and scary place; you shall find it.

If you seek to find and expose mistakes made by others; you shall find it.

If you seek something to make you smile; you shall find it.

If you seek something to renew your faith in mankind; you shall find it.

If you seek to find the beauty in this life; you shall find it.

If you seek something to be grateful for in this very moment; you shall find it.

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU ARE SEEKING; FOR YOU WILL FIND IT!

I strived to, and did better!

In Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, he refers to life’s difficulties as “situations” instead of “problems.” He explains that if any situation makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from it, change it, or accept it totally.

Remember, in a prior post, I mentioned that I’d been striving to do better with my impatience behind my car’s wheel? Well, without being aware of it, I utilized Eckhart’s method.

First, I realized I can’t remove myself from driving. Well, that is, unless I get a chauffeur (which I’d be more than happy to accept). My life does not exist exclusively in my house, it’s in many different cities. Therefore, driving is a requirement.

Second, the situation cannot be changed. The fact remains, there are many drivers on the road who insist on moving below the speed limit, thereby blocking numerous others who want to get to their destination. Others feel it is their divine duty to control every car lined up behind them.

So, that left me with one option: acceptance. At first, I felt like I would be admitting defeat, that impatience was the victor, and I was a failure. Then I realized it merely is what it is. I have totally and completely accepted the fact that I am an impatient driver. I’ve embraced the realization that if a car on the road is poking along and I can safely pass them, I’m going to continue to do just that.
Surprisingly, with this acceptance, my patience has improved. What?! Yes, it did. It filled me with a feeling of peace, and I’ve discovered that I don’t rush quite as much. Of course, I still pass slow drivers when it’s safe to do so and go my merry way. Overall, driving is now a less stressful task, and I’m on my way to actually enjoy it. Wow.

This Monday, on my way home on the 6-mile country road, I encountered three very slow driving vehicles. Of course, one by one, I passed them all. I drove a couple miles further, and as luck would have it, I spotted a turtle in the middle of the road. By the way, I need a bumper sticker that says, “I stop for turtles.” Anyway, I stopped to save the little guy from imminent destruction. As I was carrying him to the side of the road he was heading toward, all three cars that’d I passed came along, slowed down, and allowed me to finish my life-saving turtle placement. One guy, driving a small white pick-up, stopped and said, “So you were in such a hurry to pass everyone just to stop and get a turtle out of the road?” I could’ve used some choice words, ignored him, or flipped him the bird; however, with my newfound acceptance and inner peace, I responded, “I am what I am. I didn’t hurt anybody,” and he drove away. I smiled.

Communing with ducks

Since mid-winter, there has been a group of ducks that regularly visits our pond. The most we have seen at one time is seven. Would that qualify as “flock” of ducks? Anyway. I think they were a neighbor’s ducks, initially, but they like our pond, so we basically share joint custody now. I love it, too. I often admire them from afar as they paddle across the pond, flop their wings then shake their tail feathers upon leaving the water.

There were four ducks on our pond’s dock today, all preening themselves after their swim. I was pulling a large tree branch to the fire pit in our field and, after I dropped it off, I decided to see just how close I could get to this herd of ducks. In the past, merely walking in their direction motivated them to get back in the water. I casually walked over to check my mother’s memorial tree, which was roughly 30-40 feet from the band of ducks. They didn’t move. I slowly stepped a few feet closer while pretending to look for 4-leaf clovers in the grass. They didn’t move. This was getting exciting! I walked to the water’s edge, still about 20 feet from the dock where the mob of ducks remained quite content, and they again didn’t move. Every few minutes, I’d sidestep a foot or two closer to the dock, glance their way, then pretend I didn’t see them.

After several minutes of this maneuver, I was close enough to the dock that I could touch it, and they weren’t budging, but I waited a little longer. Sidestep once more, look at the troop of ducks who were still calm and happily sunning on the dock. Then, I went for it. I sat down on the dock, my back to the array of ducks, fully expecting that that would send them into the air, or into the pond. But, I didn’t hear flapping wings or the splash of water. I slowly turned my body around toward them and was a mere 6 feet from this gaggle of ducks. They didn’t fly away! I brought my legs up onto the dock, sat Indian style, and we communed with each other for 20-30 minutes, right there at our pond. The two largest ducks actually fell asleep, one perched on a single leg.

I enjoyed this interaction so much, communing with the gang of ducks, but all the while I was thinking, I really wish I had my camera. These would be some excellent photos. Next time, duckies. Next time!

Humility

These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.

~~Mother Teresa

Memorial Day

The day our nation set aside

A time to honor all who’ve died

They gave all for you and me

Home of the brave, land of the free

Countless battles and many wars

Bodies sent home by the scores

Flag-draped coffins brought heroes home

Yet some of them remain unknown

Let us give thanks to each and all

They that answered our nation’s call

For every conflict that was fought in

May they never be forgotten

By: Vonda Newsome 5-24-2020

I woke up at 7:41 a.m.

Then, I spent over an hour, creating a board on Pinterest to help promote my blog. I followed the directions, saved it, and now it supposedly exists in Pinterest land…somewhere. I’ll be danged if I can find it, it doesn’t show up in any search I tried. It probably posted on a secret government website! But, hey — long as they read it!

Keeping an eye out for a cavalcade of shiny black vehicles.

So, how’s your morning?

Homemade COVID masks: Modify yours to snuggle your nose

Note: This blog shows you how to modify existing masks using a common household item.

I’ve purchased several homemade COVID masks for my family, which were created by two lovely women, Andrea and Eve. I’ve also made a few of them myself during this lockdown. They all work but have an irritating side effect. My glasses get steamed up with my every exhale. Can you relate? I’m sure you can. While this is a much lesser annoyance than say contracting the virus, it is an annoyance. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a solution. Wiping my lenses with Rain-x windshield washer fluid was one method I tried. While it did nothing to stop my exhales from steaming up my glasses, I suppose if someone sneezed directly into my face, that moisture would bead up and drip off of them. So there’s that. I actually thought of using one of those skinny metal bristles that city street sweeper machines leave in their trail. That may work. However, the only time I’ve seen a street sweeper this year was on TV. Not gonna help much.

While making my morning java a couple days later, the Universe dropped the answer on my kitchen counter.  Use the metal closures from bags of coffee! Thank you, Universe! 

To test my theory, I modified one of the masks I’d purchased from the lovely women. Not one of mine, of course. Hehe.

Enter my husband’s U.K. Wildcat mask!
See that nice little white metal strip on the top of the bag?
You’re gonna want to peel that baby right off.
Voila!
Next, select where you want to place the strip and sew a pocket for it, being very careful not to disturb the pleats.
Now that you have your pocket in place, cut a small hole and start feeding the strip into it. Note: Don’t worry if you cut all the way through the mask, we’re gonna fix that hole in a minute anyway.
Work the strip through until it is centered on the mask.
Now, sew the tube closed on each end of the strip to keep it from sliding around, again being careful of the pleats, and definitely don’t sew through the metal strip.
See that little hole?
Well, we’re just gonna zigzag stitch that sucker closed! And, it’s done. Took less than 5 minutes.
My sexy hubby demos the mask without the metal strip. He’s so accommodating and cooperative.
Here’s the mask I modified. Hubby easily bent the strip securely around his nose.
Voila! A homemade COVID mask, modified to snuggle your nose by using “common household items.”

I’m just going to go ahead and apologize to every supermarket, coffee chain, grocery store, as well as to all the online stores, right here and now. If you start noticing that a number of your coffee bags are missing their metal closure strips, I am genuinely sorry. While it was my idea, dropped on my counter by the Universe, to share my “how-to” with the world, this idea is based on using products that people would already have in their home — like I did. That is what I expect of you, my readers, too. Use what you currently have available in your home, please. 

Disclaimer: I have shared my idea. What you do with this information is 100% up to you. But please use it wisely. I mean, we all saw what happened with the toilet paper!! Oh, and let’s not forget the ice cream licking trend that caused mass production of sealed ice cream containers. I am not responsible for anyone, or any group of people, swiping all the metal coffee bag closures from all the grocers’ shelves. 

Second disclaimer: If anyone else has come up with this idea, I did not steal it. I haven’t even Googled it or searched YouTube for ways to modify these masks for nose snuggling. I was determined to come up with a solution on my own. However, when the Universe provides an answer, it’s often heard by more than one person. Don’t believe me? Research the most famous inventions, and you will see that often there are two people from differing parts of the world who each claim to have had the idea first. 

Do you have a friend or friends who follow the example of their Depression-era parents? I’ll bet you do, and they have likely saved each metal coffee bag closure strip that entered their house. They are all in a ziplock bag or being held together by a rubber band, just lying there in a drawer, waiting patiently. I know it! They save all of those lil strips because someone “may need this one day.” That someone is you

In conclusion, you’re probably wondering how you will keep your coffee bag closed without that little metal strip, aren’t you? Easily!

That’s what your mother’s old clothespins are for, for goodness sake!

What would you attempt to do…

I was at a friend’s house enjoying a cup of coffee early this afternoon and noticed there was writing on my mug. I turned it around and read:  What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? I thought it was a fascinating question. I reread it. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? It echoed in my head as I contemplated my answer, the answer I knew I’d have immediately, if not sooner. However, my mind was, unexpectedly, a total blank. I was dumbfounded and had no idea how to answer the question because there are so many things that I’d like to accomplish and experience in this life. I have aspirations, dreams, and goals. So, why couldn’t I answer the mug’s question with one of them? I could have any of my dreams come true, just like that, and I can’t choose one? It’s just, well, none of them felt…right. Then, I questioned whether that means I don’t desire those things after all. What the…? 

It baffled me for several hours. I rehearsed the question and contemplated my answer, over and over. Surely, I thought, I can come up with one goal, one dream. Just one that I would like to be a guaranteed success. I had nothing.  Nothing? Then, it hit me.  That is my answer, “Nothing.” This puzzling question revealed that I don’t want my success to come to me effortlessly or instantaneously as if a genie grants my three wishes. Without experiencing the journey, the progressive realization of my dream, the prize loses its value. I want to earn it. While a smooth, guaranteed win would still be a win, it wouldn’t be near as satisfying as the win I’ll achieve through my blood, sweat, and tears, through overcoming obstacles, persevering in my pursuit, and risking possible failure. 

I am mind blown!

I should. I need. I am.

should write more, like every single day. I need to write every day. I’m just going to challenge myself to write every day for 30 days. Maybe that will get me into the habit. I did it! This blog makes 33 consecutive daily blog posts. I am writing every day.

should attempt to increase the traffic to my blog. I need to find a way to share my blog with more people. With a helpful suggestion from my magical friend, Linda, I’ve joined several Facebook groups that allow the sharing of blog posts, which have significantly increased the daily number of visitors to my site. I am getting more traffic to my blog.

should exercise during this shutdown since the “I don’t have time” excuse is sufficiently null and void. I need to exercise; I’m getting so out of shape and out of breath more easily. I am going to exercise.

should finish listening to that Audible book on figuring things out on the journey toward your dreams. I need to finish that book. I am going to finish that book.

About an hour ago, I donned my walking shoes, strapped on my iWatch, and went out the door. I gave myself a goal of 30 minutes. First, I trekked up and down our hilly driveway. That felt so good, I continued my walk around our property, to the pond, and down our street. All the while, I was listening to my Audible book through my single earbud. When I made it back to the house, I had walked 1.54 miles and brought two passengers with me — ticks! Ick! Ick! Ick!!! But, I am exercising, and I am finishing my audiobook book. 

When you say, “I should” to yourself, you’ve already accused yourself of not doing something you feel you ought to, and you’ve just called yourself a failure. “I need” gets you a little closer to the ultimate, “I am,” and just doing it. You have to figure out the how part! Whatever it is. Or, maybe it’s the why part that you need to figure out. Why? It will make you feel incredibly, amazingly, wonderful that you did the something that you thought you should and needed to do — that’s why!