Sunday, September 21, 2014

Setting out to live today

     When I peer into an oval mirror beyond the wrinkles and imperfections on the surface of my face, there are deep brown eyes measuring the compassion within my heart for others. I make a promise to myself while I go about my usual routine. Today, I will look kindly at each person that crosses my path and let it be a moment of mindfulness. Unconsciously a slight smile on my lips will appear and my shoulders will relax. Prejudice, dislike and jabbing negativism about someone’s physical appearance slip away when attention is paid to what is truly worthy in another. I feel uplifted in anticipation of a beautiful day encountering people spontaneously and permitting my cup to runneth over flowing in directions that might surprise me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Deciding what to do

    I make a decision, and before it has a chance to settle, I second guess myself. On the other hand, the decision feels slighted like it is worthy of standing on its own merit without vacillation. It is annoyed at me for not trusting my judgment. I  anxiously rethink all the possible alternatives and come to a conclusion. The original decision is the best one. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

At the Gen Iris Inn in Letchworth State Park where fall has not started showing any colorful signs yet.  Still, it is a lovely early autumn day with plenty of sun dotted with puffy clouds. 
Check it out. A must go place.

Lunch at Caroline's Restaurant


a good read

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The best cup of coffee

        I am thinking about when and where I had the best cup of coffee in my entire life. There might be a significant person that is part of the experience, too. My father introduced me to coffee when I was thirteen at breakfast.  It was instant Nescafe from a jar. Today I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking instant coffee. I suppose he thought I was mature, although my school chums couldn’t believe my own father allowed that vice. They said that as a result coffee stunted my growth to a lowly five feet three. As I recollect, their scare tactics didn’t frighten me. I’ve had outstanding espressos around the world in chic bars served by baristas and surrounded by elegant people. An hourly worker on a plantation in Costa Rica ground fresh beans from a burlap bag on the warehouse floor for a delicious brew that I made last until the final drop came to my lips. Sharing a moment with dad over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table before rushing off to eighth grade makes the most lasting impression, though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Working Out

      My body is talking me into going to the gym for a workout. However, my mind is talking me out of it in a much more convincing way. It’s best that I listen to my body and ignore my mind on occasion.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seasonal change

      According to the calendar, it is time to bring out my winter sweaters like a ritual dance performance which unveils heavy seasonal wools to an expectant audience comfortable in the familiarity of well-worn classics. I am packing away t-shirts and light tops. It doesn’t make sense, though. Today is short-sleeve kind of weather. I'll traipse to that tune grasping on to the hopes of a repeat refrain tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Slowing down a day revealing

     The minute my husband and I climb the steep wooden steps and walk under the portal, I know that we will be there for quite some time. The conditions are right — a Monday, no less.
     We can make a four-hour trip into an all-day adventure, and on occasion, an impromptu overnight is added into the mix for good measure.
     People shake their heads at us for finding more offbeat places along an ordinary road than you can count on a stick (a tally stick). Our marriage thrives with that added zing.
     Society loves to program travelers into rushing everywhere and sightseeing as much as possible as quickly as they are able.  Personally, I am taking my foot off the gas pedal, and slamming on the brake.
     One way to see the countryside on a casual trip — I’m not talking about every vacation either — is to make periodic stops while using restraint speeding from point A to point B.
     It isn’t the easiest thing to do without practice, patience and panache. I might add it requires the correct combination of temperaments in the car (I’m still on a learning curve) from those involved, too.
     Once my husband and I stopped at a local store on our return from Pittsburgh for a bottle of water and a check of the local newspaper headlines. That got us front row viewing at a Tom Mix festival in Dubois, Pa. There was an assortment of classic cowboy character re-enactors of the likes of Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger strolling around the park.
     Although I don’t remember Tom Mix — I am not that old — I do know that he helped define the Western for all cowboy actors who followed. Between 1909 and 1935, Mix appeared in 291 films, all but nine of which were silent movies. He was Hollywood's first Western megastar. John Wayne was right on his tail.
      It was a déjà vu experience for the two of us growing up in the era where playing cowboys and gals was in vogue. If I remember correctly, we ended up too tired to drive home that night after the Disneyworld-like parade complete with a shootout on horseback, and we stayed overnight in a neighboring community that just so happened to be near a meandering trout stream with outstanding fly-fishing. You can guess the rest of the story.
     On the other hand, it can be a unique site tucked away site not listed on a travel brochure that catches our fancy.
     My husband pulls over by an old weathered barn selling antiques. It is along the edge of the main highway, a typical windy two-lane road running through northern Pennsylvania. I am feeling a wee bit carsick, and should stretch my legs.
     Surrounding the front of the structure are sleds, baby buggies and an assortment of upright wooden chairs artistically arranged. That catches my camera’s eye.      
     We have driven by this barn many times throughout the years on the way to visit relatives, and for some reason or other, we have never stopped. Always there is an excuse.
     The owner greets us from the rear, and leaves us on our own to walk the aisles looking for that perfect treasure. I appreciate his style. I have experienced the chatty owner desperate to fill up an afternoon with conversation, and that alone is enough to take my mind off the mark.
     Groups of pieces are organized and displayed neatly. The prices appear reasonable, as well. It won’t be too difficult to eyeball the  contents.
     Don’t get me wrong. I do get a kick out of rummaging through a musty barn tiptoeing ever so gingerly down an aisle like a balancing act. I avoid tripping over boxes scattered everywhere, and I end up covered with a thicker layer of dust than the prize possession I have uncovered underneath brittle yellowed newsprint. Often out of that junk pile the greatest acquisitions come, although it takes longer. Being in the right mood, too, along with a full stomach is essential.
     My usual strategy is roaming and noting what is for sale — or could be, with gentle persuasion. It never gets me anywhere when I search with a plan to add a piece or two to one of my collections.
     As I move closer up the first aisle, the owner and I begin what I call “the starter” discussion: “Where are you from?”
     While we are getting acquainted, he is inspecting a bag of jewelry. He had been to an estate sale and shows me a delicate filigree and bone bracelet.
     I ask to try it on, and hoping that I’m not showing too much interest, I hand it back after quickly checking the price tag. I walk away mentally calculating how much cash I have with me, and what will be my bottom line offer.
     In the meantime, my husband is browsing miniatures in another aisle. We do best separating the minute we enter as each of us has a different purpose.
     The barn is chilly taking away from a lengthy stay. It is time to get on the road again. (I did buy the bracelet.)
     We say our farewells. There are items hiding from plain sight that have been playing peek-a-boo with us the entire visit. They spend their hours waiting for the likes of us to return for another round.
      Any road is filled with adventure if you reduce your speed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A marked page

     My coffee cup spills in misshaped circles on pages 122 and 123 of my book. Each splotch bubbles and rises before spreading out to dry in uneven designs. It is no longer like every other copy in print, and it has taken on a character of its own. I shall  return to the exact pages easily and pick up with the stained life of the protagonist if I ever read that novel again.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer exploded into the Finger Lakes for the past few days in September capping a cool and rather uneventful season. It was glorious. I wonder if mother nature handed out this favor putting us into jovial spirits, or was it a random act of kindness?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Internet down

     The Internet is down. Lack of virtual contact with the world has its good points, and in light of the circumstances, I am doing other essential office chores. I’ve revamped my file drawers. I’ve weeded out tax files. I am practicing the art of deep breathing and letting go of frustrations by pulling apart bulky stapled documents page-by-page.  Meditation is an ancient technique appropriate in a modern era for staying in touch with my innermost thoughts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The first day of school

     The moment has come after counting down the days on the calendar for weeks on end. Each knows what to expect, and the family marches out the front door one-by-one at the appropriate time. Still, mama is crying her eyes out. Her hands need to be busy and she reaches for the first thing in sight.  The backpack. She’s making one final check of its contents like the homework assignment she has completed correctly. Dad is keeping his emotions in check shooting photos for the memory book. He’s choked up, too. The first day of school is here marking a milestone. The kindergartener is dressed in brand new fall plaids and brown shoes all set to climb on board the shiny yellow bus. The wheels of learning are taking the little one on a ride for the next thirteen years. Up the huge steps hanging on to the rail for a final boast to a welcoming bus driver, and the youngest student never looks back. The parents are left standing at the end of the driveway. They've done their job preparing the child for this very day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


        The first moment I notice a spot of rain on my head, I go into denial. I don't do well with interruptions when I have set aside just so much time for an activity. My walk must get finished before the storm makes its way into the weather pattern for the late afternoon. I ignore the more frequent droplets landing randomly on my t-shirt;  instead, I play a mind game permitting the cooling mist to become a pleasurable sensation adding a new dimension to my sometimes mundane routine. I wonder why two of my neighbors drive right by me and wave without stopping to check if I want a ride? Perhaps, they know that I am tenacious.