Moving Boxes and Our Stuff

When getting ready to move, everyone has the enormous task of collecting boxes, paper, and tape. Packing up so things aren’t damaged or broken can be time consuming. Boxes stacked everywhere for the time before and after the move can be overwhelming. The boxes are labeled and closed shut until they are needed. The filled box is stacked against the wall and a new box is formed and taped together, ready to be filled. It seems like a never ending process until there are boxes everywhere and then when there are very little boxes left. The length of time the whole process takes depends on the individual. 

I recently moved. I started packing about a month before. I made sure that the contents of each box I packed was wrapped well, packed neatly, and taped securely. I marked the exact contents on the box and the room it came from so it could easily be found when needed. I only wish I could say that the move went smoothly. 

The day the movers came, there was so much that needed to be moved that was still lying around. The movers were grabbing boxes and items and just putting them in the boxes. Items were not wrapped well, some boxes were not taped(even on the bottom), and the boxes were not marked. Everything was moved to a storage unit until my new home was ready. The movers said they would make sure the storage unit was somewhat organized by area and boxes to one side, furniture to the other. What I had hoped for and what it turned out to be were completely different. Needless to say, they completed the move in the allotted timeframe that they had to work with. 

What started out as ‘having it all together’ turned into, to be truthful, a real mess! Things were difficult to find. The way everything was thrown into storage collapsed boxes, broke glass and scratched furniture. It was not organized and throughout the move I was overwhelmed and disappointed. The stress level was higher than I expected, as well. I must confess I didn’t handle the stress in the most desirable way at times.
  
Isn’t that how some compartmentalize life sometimes? You pack your stuff in and close it tight until it’s needed again. Or, in some cases, until it surfaces. At times, things can become overwhelming. Unless the tools are available to safely manage your ‘stuff’, the most likely response is to pack it away and move on from it. When your personal ‘stuff’ is packed away, it sits out of sight. Is ‘out of sight’ really ‘out of mind’?

When you get over it and move on, do you move forward? To me, it’s like moving boxes. You have to unpack the boxes, unwrap the contents, put the item where it belongs, break down the box, and dispose of the box to feel that things are somewhat normal again. 

Processing through whatever the circumstance is and getting to the other side can be arduous and sometimes difficult. As in moving and unpacking boxes, working through personal difficulties, relationships, school, business, debt, or whatever seems to be overwhelming and resolving it to a peaceful solution, is worth the time it took to get to the end. 

The key to a successful goal achievement is to make a good and reasonable plan. Break that plan up into manageable parts and establish smaller goals and an action plan to reach each one. Be flexible and easy on yourself. It takes time, as it does in packing and unpacking boxes, to work towards and reach goals. If you’re having a hard time sorting through things, seek out a friend or family member, a person you can trust, or there are professionals that can help.

I had to let some things go with my moving experience. I became very familiar with the phrase ‘different people do things differently’! To be honest, I took a lot of deep breaths. I also took a hard look at everything. What I took away was that I made it through the chaos and I can look back on the whole experience as another lesson learned. 

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Keep Looking Up When It Rains

 

 

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It was the fall of 1979. It was a beautiful day. Classes were over. I sat in the window of my dorm room which was positioned above the awning that hung over the entryway to the building. I was positioned to see perfectly out into the quad. People were rushing back and forth to dorms, classes, and work. The quad was busy. The air was filled with the musical sounds of Carol King, Fleetwood Mac, Joy Division, and Prince. As I watched everyone rushing back and forth, I was caught up in the music, the busyness, and the beauty of the day.

I remember that day vividly. Why? It wasn’t an unusual day. No major life changing event occurred on that day. But it did start raining. Somewhere in between getting caught up in the music, watching the leaves fall and observing the people, it began to rain. Why I remember this day so well, I think, is that it was the first day that I can remember noticing the pleasure that rain can bring. While everyone else was running, one guy stopped, looked up, and opened his mouth as if he was consuming from a fountain from heaven. He stood for a few minutes letting the rain water fall into his mouth, laughing, and getting soaked!

To describe my amusement as I sat there transfixed could never truly justify that particular moment in time. After a few minutes, he stomped his feet on the pavement as a child would in a mud puddle. Some were amused and stomped with him. Others stared as they ran by. Totally oblivious of both and he eventually sauntered off.

I rarely saw him after that day. I can’t say that I knew him or who he was or what he enjoyed. I couldn’t speculate if he was carefree and contented or if he was troubled.  On that day I witnessed him both joined and judged.

Not one to judge, what I prefer to take away from that day is that I could look at the rain as an annoyance or I could look at it in so many positive ways (using hundreds of quotes about rain).

For this purpose I will use two great ones:

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than look down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”

GK Chesterton

and……

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

Bob Marley

The memory of that day comes back when it rains. As others race to make their way out of the rain, over the years I have learned to stop and keep looking up. The rain always means something is going to grow and bloom. And at the end of the rain there is a meteorological phenomenon caused by light particles reflecting and dispersing in water droplets in the sky opposite the sun.

Beauty is not only in the rainbow. It’s also in the rain. Keep looking up!

Rain Haiku

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My heart overwhelmed.

The rain dances lightly

on the windowpane.

Haiku using 16 syllables –

5-6-5 structure.

It’s The End and I Feel Fine!

Following is a summary and response written for my Academic and Business Writing class through edX Berkeley. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles was also one of the most prolific writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. He won numerous awards. His legacy speaks volumes, no pun intended, to the world he introduced to the science fiction community and many more! His short story, ‘The Last Night of the World’ is as stimulating and intriguing as any his novels.

What would you do if this was your last night and the world was going to end? Ray Bradbury’s “The Last Night of the World” is a compelling story that takes you into the final night of a family to show you how they would answer that very question. February 30, 1951 is the day. Adults started waking up from a dream, four nights prior, alerting them to the end of the world. The office and the neighborhood abuzz with discussions of the dream. Others, numb. Bombers are headed across the world on a path of destruction.

This story gives a glimpse of how one husband and wife spend their final moments. Is it surprising that they don’t want to waste their time focusing on anything other than what really matters, each other and their children? The couple go about their normal routine. Over a cup of coffee and with their children playing in the background, they discuss their day and their lives. For a brief moment, the couple find something to laugh about. As the couple is saying goodnight after a long kiss, the story is faded as the world presumably ends.

I found this story to be thought provoking. Opening with the question of ‘what would you do’, made the piece impactful. I considered what I had read for a few moments after reading it for a second and third time. As I was reading it, I was asking myself would I be reacting this way, quiet and reserved? Would I have waited four days to discuss it with my significant other or acted upon it immediately? Spending quality time with family is important. Living without regret is challenging, but rewarding. I think Mr. Bradbury wrote with this perspective for the couple in his story. I would like to think that I would be able to approach death with such respect. What purpose would it serve to act in other ways?

There were also many unanswered questions. What I didn’t understand was who or what initiated the dream. Who were the bombers and were they being controlled or was there a master plan at work? What was the inspiration for the story? The world was only arriving at some sense of normalcy in the late 1940s and 50s following WWII. The world was making striking changes. There was the birth of fast food restaurants and television! The question put forth and answered in conversation, it seemed to me, was that society was being punished for the events that had happened.  Should the mysteries contained within the parameters of the story remain mysteries; or given it’s the end of the world, what does it really matter?

 

A Jane Eyre Review

As in my class for Pride and Prejudice, Dracula, and A Christmas Carol, I was assigned reviewing an adaptation for Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I found several versions of this classic at Archive.org. Netflix is also streaming a couple of versions at the time I’m posting this. In 1943  Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine proved to be true Rochester and Jane Eyre. The black and white film set the tone for the gothic ambiance. I love the chemistry between the characters in the BBC 2011 adaptation with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender and Judi Dench gave a stellar performance as always! I’m also looking forward to watching the Ruth Wilson/Toby Stephens 2006 adaptation.

The adaptation of Jane Eyre I am reviewing is The Autobiography of Jane Eyre web series. I really enjoyed the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and so I thought this would be fun as well. It is a telling of Jane Eyre through a modern day vlog.

Although the acting sometimes felt strained initially, this web series delivered a unique retelling of Jane Eyre, the novel. It became very enjoyable as it progressed. I found it to be a refreshing approach to the novel. It was a recorded journey of Jane’s growth over a span of time that included those in her life. Throughout the series is her transition into a confident, mature, ‘all-together’ young woman in part due to these relationships. The maturation of Jane through her relationships is what seems to make this series work. The vlogging captured the elements of the supernatural, mystery, and intrigue. The writers wove it into the vlogging of the story using a dramatic and interesting focus. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre stayed true to the plot line of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, although using the city as a backdrop and a few minor changes enabled it to support a contemporary piece. The characters were interesting, quirky, complex, and entertaining which defined the depth of the relationship Jane had with each individual.

Spoiler alert: The entire series is 95 episodes and according to the comments, most viewers were disappointed during one of the final episodes. The reunion scene between Jane and Rochester stirred more drama amongst the viewers for what didn’t take place. While the scene was less dramatic than the novel or other adaptations due to a change in actors, I feel it was filmed in such a way that was equally compelling. As a relationship oriented person,

 

The chemistry between Jane and Rochester is evident. It is fun for them and the viewer can sit back and watch the layers of what they are developing unfold. Grace Poole is a very organized, efficient, and loyal assistant to Mr. Rochester. Grace is left brain dominant to Jane’s obvious right which presents an interesting challenge. Jane finds something positive about the Reed girls, Joanna and Liz, when she makes the decision to visit her dying aunt. She encourages them to move on with their lives in their own ways. Jane’s friendship with Diana and Mary Rivers is supportive, caring, intelligent, and fun. The character of Simon is a doctor. He is as emotionally isolated as St. John, however, the interaction between them is casual and, dare I say, cute! Rose and Suzanna brought also brought growth to Jane. I personally struggled with Adele’s character in the introductory episodes, however, as Jane had an effect on her, Adele had an effect on me.

As a relationship oriented person, I enjoyed the ending: the orphan who ended on a high note surrounded by the friends who became her family.

Resolutions Vs. Personal Evolution

Resolution: A resolve or determination: to make a firm
resolution to do something.
Evolution: A process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development.

Back Camera
There Is NO Ceiling!

Once again, you are into a New Year and working on a new you! It’s a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to start shedding old habits and developing new. Are you wanting another year of resolutions or is this the day to begin a personal evolution?

As so many times before you are faced with the age old dilemma of keeping resolutions! It’s the first of January. Half of America will make resolutions- 1 out of 5 will keep them. Change, undoubtedly, is difficult. What are simple steps to take so you are the 1 in that equation?

Making our resolution is only the beginning of the
process. Make resolutions you know you can keep. Committing to resolutions that are easy to keep is going to make you feel good and, for the most part, the most successful at following through. You will become successful by moving away from the resolution and towards making a personal evolution.

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The Ghosts of Christmas

December’s edX Berkeley Book Club was A Christmas Carol. For my third week homework assignment I was to compare different renderings of the ghosts. I had a lot of fun and wanted to share. I searched and found renderings of the 3 Spirits of A Christmas Carol by such artists as Arthur Rackham, Lisbeth Zwerger, P. J. Lynch, Roberto Innocenti, Mark Summers, A C Michael, and the German artist, Fritz Kredel. I also looked through study guides for children level education.

The illustrations of the ghosts of Christmas Present and Future stayed very close to Dickens’ construction of the characters. The ghost of Christmas Present adorned in his green robe with white fur trim, a holly wreath around his head. He wears his robe in a loose fitting manner with his chest exposed. The only difference was in the belt, either a tasseled chord or what appeared to be a leather belt, and the environment of the room. The ghost of Christmas Future was illustrated as a dark cloaked figure that hid his face, body, and concealed every part of him except his one hand and long boney finger. The cloaks stayed true to the costume of that period except for the interpretation by Lisbeth Zwerger, who gave him a very long, pointed tip to the hood (a modern grim reaper feel to it). This particular illustration stood out to me because a grim reaper is exactly what the ghost of Christmas future depicted.

As I looked at the artists’ interpretations, I felt what I think Scrooge would have felt. The happiness and joy that illuminated from the ghost of Christmas present as one would assume it would, given the ‘present’ day and what it represented to everyone along their journey. The ghost of the future was dark and ominous as was the current path of Scrooge. Shrouded in darkness with no light, the ghost of the future represented no emotion or hope whatsoever. The people along the path they traveled, except for the Cratchits, reaped benefit from Scrooge’s death through having a free lunch, time on an unpaid debt, or the theft and sale of his property. The images presented by the artists projected that feeling of impending doom.

The variations came in the imaginings of the Ghost of Christmas Past. The artists, once again, stayed loyal to the overall description of the character Dickens penned with the belted white tunic, white hair, and holly twigs; however, a few of the illustrations I looked at presented the ghost of Christmas past as a young woman opposed to an old man. The ghost of Christmas past represented a childlike figure, yet, there was a tremendous amount of negative and positive emotion in Scrooge’s younger life and I believe the ghost represented a nurturing spirit, as well, while visiting the painful memories. A young woman, as depicted in a few illustrations, would be a good representative of the ‘light’ that was this spirit.

I chose as the one that inspired me the most, a rendering of the Ghost of Christmas Present by Dean Morrisey. I found this particular illustration in my coffee table book of A Christmas Carol adaptation by Stephen Krensky. Here, the ghost of Christmas present is represented by a very regal looking character. I would imagine someone who had the authority to bless the poor and shine some happiness on otherwise bleak lives as one of power and in a position to do so. This is where I would imagine the ghost differently from the ghost of Christmas present by Charles Dickens.

20151219_212316Possessing the wealth of having plenty of bounty, this rendering of Christmas present is first introduced sitting on a throne-like chair surrounded by a variety of food, drink, holly, mistletoe. and musical instruments. He appears jovial and content and protective. He is dressed in a more royal garb. The holly and berry head wreath has been replaced by a green plaid Irish Tam. He is wearing a green and cream striped tunic belted with a black and gold trimmed belt. The tunic has what appears to be brass and green buttons and the belt is adorned with a huge brass buckle. He is wrapped in an elegant cloak with a fur collar and trimmed in gold. This ghost of Christmas present is far removed from the character as described by Charles Dickens. I would guess that Dean Morrissey used this depiction as an extension of his Irish heritage. It might be presumptuous, but I would also like to think he had the same thought process as mine when drawing his version.

A Delightful Man, Old Fezziwig

Fezziwig to me is the embodiment of what the message to Scrooge ultimately represented. There was complete balance in the character of ‘Old Fezziwig’. Money, position, status. That was not as important to him as was family and friends. He had a love for life and it showed in the way he treated everyone, as well as, the way he was remembered by Ebeneezer Scrooge. Even though Scrooge chose a different path, he became immediately warmed by the memories of that time. We always behave in a way that shuts people out and keeps them at bay when we are hurting. However, the walls that we build doesn’t mean that we’re happy with how our life truly is. I believe Scrooge was reminded of that with the sincerity of Fezziwig. Sometimes people enter our lives and can have a dramatic impact. Fezziwig’s memory of happiness and having unmistakable balance triggered the emptiness that Scrooge really felt. Isn’t that the message of the holiday season and is it that much of a chore to carry it on throughout the year?

LIVE YOUR LIFE!

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, 

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

William W. Purkey

My Mad Hattery!

 

Fave Hat

 

There’s nothing quite like a hat! Even though no longer an everyday accessory, hats are magical, whimsical, elegant, functional, eccentric, sporting, and defining. Hats are a part of winter to keep us warm. They are a part of sporting and profession to keep us safe. Except in the case of the Derby, of course. The true spirit of the Derby is always fashion! HATS are a part of reenactments and classic adaptations for entertainment purposes. They have become a huge part of cosplay conventions and have always been a huge part of southern culture.

20151128_160536 (1)It is very difficult to pinpoint when the first hat was worn, however, the Greeks and Egyptians were among the first recorded. Before then it would suffice to say that animal skins were used as coverings for the head, not necessarily as what we consider as a head covering today. Hats started to accessorize the general public more frequently around the fourteenth century. It became a part of the daily costume for the next 600 years! Etiquette was written for the hat wearer as the art of galericulating evolved. Hats, being a staple, moved into obscurity about the mid to latter part of the 1960’s.

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