WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO DO?


Stepping Off On a Wing and a Prayer

‘STEPPING OFF ON A WING AND A PRAYER’ Stoneware Sculpture by Kayti Sweetland Rasmussen

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REGRET: Definition: An uncomfortable condition often caused by our own actions.

Sometimes we need to stop and think before we take a leap of faith.

Life isn’t always as it seems, and it isn’t the fall that may hurt you—it’s the landing and the irreversible outcome of our own actions which cause regret.

APPRECIATION: Definition: Thankfulness for the help of others. (Sometimes slow in coming.)

Should we tell this little pilot that she is missing a wing??

What matters is not what you see, but what you think you see.

HAVE BIRTHDAY, WILL TRAVEL


287Today is my 85th birthday, which is a nice sturdy, confident number don’t you think? Eighty-five has a certain panache to it. You have gone past the years of indecision, people credit you with a certain amount of wisdom whether it’s true or not. You have accumulated a lot of memories, and if you can’t remember them precisely, it doesn’t matter, because no one will ever know anyway because they weren’t there.

You no longer have to worry if you’re hair is ‘just right’, or if you are wearing the ‘right’ shoes. You can authentically be the person you really are. Shopkeepers know you and give you better service than when you were 35 or 50. You are likely one of the oldest people in your family, and if you don’t push your weight around, you collect a lot of respect. All in all, it is a comfortable time of life.

There are three places in the world in which I am most at home and invigorated; Paris,France, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Carmel, California. They are all “painters” cities, and I am quite comfortable in them. I celebrated this year’s birthday twice in Carmel, which is the closest to my home in Fremont. My two daughters wined and dined me, and we spent a fabulous girl’s weekend there, doing all the things girls love to do; shop, shop, shop, and eat!

This weekend Dr. Advice, my dear husband of 66 years, took me down again and we had a delightful and romantic “real” birthday (and repeated most of the fun we had last weekend, but with more art gallery visits and trips to the Carmel Bakery.) We drove around and smelled the pine trees and the ocean, and wondered why we don’t wake up each morning with the same view.

Birthdays are wonderful occasions for celebration. No matter what country you are from, they have a version of the “Happy Birthday” song. It doesn’t matter whose birthday it is, it is an affirmation that we are still here, and no matter where we come from, it’s nice to convey our good wishes to those who have achieved another milestone.

PEOPLE OF THE SUN


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“People of the Sun” oil painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

What is this painting asking us: Are we blind to Life’s possibilities? Are our lips sealed to prevent the dissemination of heretic thought?

The rising sun is obviously our touchstone, without which we would forever wander in the terrors of darkness.

Now put this in the context of today’s life.

Do we stumble through life without taking every advantage offered us in the way of work, play and love?

Are we quiet in the face of dissention? Do we keep our opinions to ourselves for fear of disagreement?

The sun gives new life, light, warmth and hope.

Possibly the painting is saying “The darkness is over, it is a new dawn, and you can escape fears of the night.

OF STEPS AND STAIRCASES


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“Staircase To Heaven” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen


“Blue Steps” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen


“Waves” handmade paper by kayti sweetland rasmussen

Stairs present a mystery. They can manifest man’s desire to elevate himself to the highest level, to enable him to understand his place in the world. At the top of the staircase, does he find enlightenment or—nothing? He will never know unless he climbs the steps. But the effort seems worthwhile.

In another instance, they may merely be a way to move from one level to another. It depends upon his degree of anticipation and ambition. A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot, but it needs the white hot heat of the furnace to become porcelain.

For some, a simple life over a slightly rolling terrain may be enough to bring him fullfillment. He can relax in the familiar comfort of deep resounding sound as in ocean waves. We become like aging ships who spring a few more leaks each year.

One of the great wonders of life is the variety of aspiration and the means to achieve it.

GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED


Broke and heedless when young, not so broke and somewhat more careful in our present lives, we’re mostly invisible to the young who are battling their own storms. We have reached the stage of life where ambition, like promuiscuity, is most pleasant when experienced vicariously. Case in point: I can’t remember the last time in my life I found myself truly fascinating. Don’t laugh. That is sad stuff. You should be able to look in your mirror and see someone you might at least like to get to know.

Of course today my nose is red and dripping, and I feel miserable. I could blame my cold on the plane ride, because I have been known to catch every germ known to man on an airplane, but I prefer to think it is because of all the people I kissed at my youngest daughter’s wedding last weekend. Much nicer to think you caught it from people you love instead of fellow passengers you will never see again.

But this is supposed to be a guide to aging, for which I am well qualified, due to my long adulthood.

We learn from Kahlil Gibran: “I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind—-” Never stop learning, it causes the brain to explode into a real mess, and life is hard enough as it is. Pick up on all those old and perhaps dead mentors, you might actually learn something. (If only to keep your mouth shut.)

If you think someone you know has not faced adversity, you simply do not know them well enough. Everyone has something and it is likely to be worse than yours. At any rate, no one likes to listen to all your aches and pains and medications. I can’t stress that last part too strenuously. Old people love to tell you about all their nicks and bumps. Just smile and change the subject.

If you receive an invitation, even if it is to accompany your husband/wife to the gas station, GO! And if you don’t get invited anywhere, go by yourself. Try not to miss out on Life, the dance is over too soon.

Many years ago, I met a charming woman in her 80’s who was so interesting I told my husband that that was the kind of old lady I wanted to be. In typical Dr. Advice fashion he said “You’d better start now.”
Very good advice. Practice charming, or at the very least congeniality.

Lastly, never miss an opportunity to say I love you.

NAUGHTY OR NICE


Tootling through the Poppies  KSR

To paraphrase David Brooks:  Most of us think we are pretty wonderful.  We try to balance our virtuous self-image with our selfish desires, and keep our  image in positive territory.  We give ourselves permission to cheat a little because when we look at our overall life we see that we’re still a good person.

Most of us measure ourselves leniently.  This is what Yom Kipper and the confessional are for.

When I was a child I had a small book called “The Naughty or Nice Book”.  The naughty part showed a little girl who did not make her bed and did not match her newly washed socks and put them away,  so was not permitted to attend her own birthday party (which was in full swing in an adjoining  room,)  until those chores  were done.  I could identify with that girl.  And besides she probably got cake and ice cream later anyway.

The naughty girl impressed me so much That I don’t remember exactly what the nice litle girl did that was so nice.

I have a friend who says she is thoughtful but not nice.  She unfailingly remembers everyone’s birthday dates even if she has just met them.  Quite amazing considering she is nearly 90.  She says her gift is dates but she can’t remember anything else worthwhile.

My friends are mostly all nice with a little naughty thrown in.    “Nothing wondrous can come in this world unless it rests on the shoulders of kindness.”