“You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

The question posed is: Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

My answer is: It isn’t either/or.

My mother-in-law used to say “you pays your money and you takes your choice”. She had a way of saying it that emulated my idea of a man at a fair. You get the prize that goes with your choice. If you want a different prize then you pay more money to make a different choice.

Isn’t the real art of living to see what you can do with with what you have? Choice and fate together make a life. Like making a scrap quilt from fabrics that you have picked up here and there through the years.

…or choosing the softest, sweetest kitty-cat at the Humane Society on the day when you realized you were lonely and needed a companion.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Que Sera Sera.”

Travel Theme: Gleaming

To gleam is to “shine brightly, especially with reflected light”, according to The Google. Here are some of my gleaming travel experiences.

These are the gleaming white walls of “The Getty” in LA:

A gleaming sculpture welcoming folks to Yreka, California:

Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.
Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.

A sheep with gleaming wool somewhere in western Ireland:

Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.
Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.

Gleaming modern Beijing Nan (South) train station:

Beijing Nan train station in China.
Beijing Nan train station in China.

A gleaming sea serpent in Fort Bragg, California:

Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.
Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.

Gleaming golden serenity in the form of the Buddha at the Great Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, China:

Golden Buddha at Great Wild Goose Pagoda
Gleaming serenity.

Pasqueflower seedheads gleaming in the early morning light at Mount Rainier in Washington state:

Pasqueflower seedheads.
Pasqueflower seedheads.

Post inspired by Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme: Gleaming.

Broken in Silence

I swore (which I rarely do) at a guy in a construction zone who made me turn around and walk blocks out of my way, for saying “I am sorry for your inconvenience”, because I know, good and well, that NO ONE on God’s green, but rapidly browning, earth gives one accursed tenth of a rat’s hindquarters about my convenience.  He was just parroting what he was trained to say to crazy people. When I got home I realized that I needed to stay home for a while.

I shouldn’t have broken that silence (and I didn’t yell, he may not have heard me since there was a lot of construction noise), but I was already in tears and trying to get a few things done quickly so I could get home and melt down in peace.

The silences I should break are not with a  stranger in a construction zone. They are with people closer to me. But the words are never there and those people are full of their own joys and concerns, fears and stresses. I get it, but I still feel a bit like a sacrificial washer being squished out of shape between other people’s rough edges.

Even saying “should” is debatable. There is a tension between the “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” and “tell it like it is” camps. I grew up in the era where those two were competing with each other in our culture.

My mother would always say “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”, but she did not come close to practicing what she preached. It was a standard for others. Mostly trotted out when something said was not to her liking. “Tell it like it is” was for her, not anyone who might make her feel uncomfortable.

With that upbringing, being a non-confrontational sort, I developed a different philosophy:” try to find something honest to say that which will make other people feel good”. It doesn’t have a catchy ring to it. More importantly, it can be very difficult to find the right words, so, more often than not, silence it is!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Break the Silence.”

Do I know you from somewhere?

The rather interesting question posed is “how would you get along with your siblings, parents, etc. that you have known for a long time if you only just met them?”

It is really hard to figure out an answer to that, I do not think I would ever meet any member of my family, even my spouse, if we were not already in contact. Our paths would never cross.

Then I wonder, how can that be? How can it be that people from the same source have gown so far apart that they would never meet? Surely there must be something? Maybe if we met there would be a vague sense of deja vu.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Delayed Contact.”

Great Wall Walk

In the spring of 2014 my son and I did a “wild wall” walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu.  This gallery is a sampler of the paths along that trip, from the rickety ladder up to the tower to the stone mosaic (I know that isn’t quite the right word for it) on the path from the wall down into the town.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Beneath Your Feet.”

Styling in Palm Springs-Practical, but not pretty

I will spare you a photo of me. Here in Palm Springs it is sunny, and hot. I have been estivating (the spell checker didn’t like the word but it is a real thing), but I decided that I needed to leave my dark, air-conditioned room for at least a little while. So I drove to an indoor parking garage, had lunch and walked a bit.

I was wearing gym shorts, the short ones, and a tank top, I added a khanga (aka leso). This is a very thin piece of cloth , so it blows around and doesn’t heat me up too much while

  • shading my legs from the sun
  • preventing me from sticking to chairs
  • beautifying the world by leaving a little more to the imagination.

I also carried a sun umbrella that I picked up in a supermarket in China last year to provide shade to my upper half while allowing air flow. Add to that my wide brimmed straw hat and…well let’s just say that no one else was quite so…me. Too bad I didn’t have a teenager along to embarrass!

Khanga, sun hat and sun umbrella.
The elements of style.

It was not an elegant coordinated outfit but I managed to walk about 8 to 10 blocks which gave me a break from hiding in a dark room trying to make phone calls on a phone that doesn’t work. I reloaded my cell phone with minutes so now maybe I can get some answers. For all the information available on the internet I find that I need to interact with humans to get specific information surprisingly often.

Any way this thought occurred to me: both the khanga and the sun umbrella are very practical and, if properly coordinated, could be very attractive fashion pieces. Why are there so many pencil skirts and stiletto heels in the world? You can carry your groceries home, or a jerrycan of water, or your child with a khanga. Try doing that with a pencil skirt!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Style Icon.”

Nightmare Part 2

This is a continuation of a previous post, My Worst Nightmare. Above you see the greeting comittee.  It was 112 degrees Fahrenheit, in and out when I arrived at the trailer. Swamp cooler was off because the water had to be shut off at the street to do the repair.

It was all about location. The little crack in that pipe had good water pressure. It caused electric usage to triple and water usage to more than double; the monthly cost of this “little crack” was well over $200. It went on for six weeks.

I guess it was lucky that it happened in the desert in the summer: it is so hot that the moisture damage was minimal, some localized mold mostly on a door warped beyond repair.

I suppose it could be worse: while the phone in my hotel room doesn’t work, the air conditioning does, and it is only supposed to get to 112 degrees F today…so I shouldn’t be such a moaning Myrtle.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

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