Saturday, September 28, 2013
I usually do things alone because what family I have is not near and the few friends I have are busy with their own lives or not interested in what interests me. For me, this is a challenge because I am an introvert and easily stressed by crowds.
I have little patience for the lack of kindness society seems to have nowadays. So I took my meds to calm me down before I ever walked out the door (actually, in order to GET me out the door) and took a leisurely stroll through our local Whistle Stop Festival (made famous by the Whistle Stop Café from the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes".
It was a nice little stroll with many interesting stops.
The first shop that caught my eye was "The Creators Place" (Facebook: Creators Place) where I picked up bags of catnip and stevia herbs. Supposedly the catnip is good with Chamomile and Stevia is a natural sweeter. I already had the Chamomile and am looking forward to trying an herbal tea with the herbal sweetener! She was very helpful too and quite intuitive.
The next shop was "Blue Dragon Glass" (Facebook: BlueDragonGlass, http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlueDragonGlassArt) with its neat flying dragon mobiles among many other stained glass crafts. She even taught classes in Trussville (near my home)! I resisted buying anything but very much enjoyed the conversation.
Next I came across a unique shop I failed to get any information on. I did buy one of their products so you can at least see it!
These planes were made out of all kinds of aluminum cans whose propellers spun in the wind! From the small $10 one above to 4 engine monsters at $45 or so. You can probably get information on the vendor from the Whistle Stop Festival (http://irondalewhistlestopfestival.com/).
Next, sugar skull candle holders caught my eye as they always do and made me think of my friend Teri.
They "S. P. Morgan Studio" (www.spmorganstudio.com) are near Huntsville and are even willing to give lessons! Her mom was really sweet and helpful and her daughter, the potter, was very encouraging about trying my hand (with or without lessons) on a pottery wheel!
I soon came across the Shaklee representative whom I have spoken with before. Their line of Natural Nutrition supplements is interesting and informative. The processing that goes into many supplements is more harmful than the benefits you get from the actual substance! Check out www.NaturallySafeNutrition.com for more information. A very knowledgable and friendly lady! While writing this blog, I noticed an error on her business card and left her a message about it. She called back to let me know she had not noticed it and would be getting new cards and thanked me for letting her know. How courteous!
Near the stage, a little boy threw his balloon-on-a-stick up in the air and it popped as it fell to the ground. He looked at his parents in frustration and began walking away. His mother immediately told him to pick up the stick the balloon had been on and put it in the trash. He looked around as if he didn't understand and was going to ignore her until his dad chimed in, pointed to the stick and repeated what his mom had said. He then marched over with shoulders slumped and obeyed them. I was again impressed.
I saw a shaved ice stand called "Avalanche Delights" (Facebook: AvalancheDelights) and decided to queue up for my favorite. Since I was already carrying my camera and YooHoo plane, I opted for a fresh squeezed Lemonade in a covered cup that was more easily handled. Yum yum yum!!!
I decided to venture over to the other side of the interstate and get a closer look at the trains parked in front of the old Wal-Mart in the Grants Mill Station shopping center (Facebook: The Station at Grants Mill) as well as the miniature golf, zip line and rope adventure.
My first stop was a tent called "Earthly Delights" (EarthGardenNaturals.com) which it turns out has had a shop in the Crestwood Festival Center for a year. They had some really nice soaps made with vegetable oil instead of animal products (like most commercial soap) if you are the vegetarian type that tries not to use animal products. I also learned that Kudzu Blossom soap exists and has a very nice scent!
After that I got close-ups of the parked trains only to learn they would soon be opening as restaurants!!!
What a novel idea for re-vitalization. Very encouraging!
I took some pictures of a few of the Fire Engines though you should pop by to see them all and the old British style phone booth.
I then took pictures of the miniature golf and Zip-Line & Rope Adventure areas and headed out.
I was hungry and tired and stopped in a restaurant to get something to eat. Up until this point, it had been a wonderful day with lots of kind and friendly folks. Even the girl taking my order was overly friendly.
I sat down and two people sat down beside me. We exchanged a few pleasantries before the lady became snippy. I recognized my own smart-ass attitude in her and so avoided a smart retort and explained the situation to her though she was unsympathetic. I refrained from any more drain on my energy by keeping silent.
On the way out, I sat in my car with it in reverse but the brake on as a family walked as slow as possible past the back of the car. The last girl even started taking long stretching strides as she finally passed as she looked at me. I began to easy out and she hollered to her parents that I was trying to hit her.
The father came charging out back out of the restaurant (that's how long they had stretched the line of people in the family), threatening to harm me and telling me that they didn't have to move out of the way and I was in the wrong. I had no intention of hitting them but I should have realized that were just itching for a fight. I again stopped talking, backed the car out and left.
Since then, most of my time has been spent at home trying to de-stress. Hours of fun are so easily erased by the self-righteous indignation so many people seem to revel in nowadays.
Whether it's the person that SLOWS DOWN when blocking traffic to the person that blocks an aisle in a super market or holds up being checked out at a register while someone in their group continues to shop, these people are all aware of what they are doing and are just hoping you will say something so they can make a scene.
I think the most disappointing ones are those that display their religious jewelry or bumper stickers which imply they are loving, compassion, and kind AND will scratch your eyes out with those same icons. And they wonder why so many lose faith.
The power and energy behind HATE is often hard and loud and hurtful and thus impacts us in ways that can so easily wash away the LOVE that is soft and quiet and pleasant. So for me, I have to pull back to my home where I feel the safest and recharge my body and soul through prayer and meditation, restoring my battery of positive energy before I venture back out again.
I want to stay home, to be with myself and give up on the world but Spirit won't let. It makes me reach down into the earth and then up into the sky and feel the love and energy coursing through me to the point I am shaking and crying with the overwhelming presence that opens up within and without.
And when that happens, how can I turn my back and give up? With such return of love and energy, I have to go back out and continue to try to raise up the world, person by person, bit by bit, just as Spirit ALWAYS does for me whenever I ask.
For now, I'll stay at home with my blind cat Sheena and re-charge. It's amazing how she knows something's wrong and plops herself up in between me and my pc now that she's discovered my new workspace I set up just yesterday. Pretty smart and I am very grateful for her love.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I was talking to a good friend at lunch today about technology and realized I had more to say on the subject when I got home and found it being addressed online too.
When I was in high school, we took an entrance exam called the ACT which also asked us a series of questions in an attempt to suggest careers we should consider. It was a little graph with an asterisk in the area of jobs suggested for me. My asterisk was placed in an area void of jobs. I now wonder if it was a prediction of the future!
I really enjoyed my own company and preferred not to work with others. I was the typical science geek, happy to play with my chemistry set or breed fruit flies. I didn't like directing others AND I didn't like following orders. So when I had time to reflect, it really made sense to me.
One day in college, I was going to play tennis with a friend of mine and realized I had forgotten the tennis balls. I gave her my racket and looked at my watch, estimating how long it would take me to go get them. I can remember her smiling and commenting how nerdy it was to time everything I did. I had never realized how silly it was and began trying to stop doing it.
Over the years, I used my watch to begin avoiding people. If I approached someone I didn't want to speak to, I'd glance down at my watch to see what time it was. It went from being rude to avoiding ANY eye contact and socialization. It got so bad that I finally stopped wearing a watch in order to force myself back into the REAL world.
So now I go through life without a watch on my arm, my cell phone is turned off in the car for emergencies, and so far I have resisted even getting a tablet. If I know want to read something, I get a book. It eliminates the temptation to become engrossed in useless stuff and instead, engage with the world and people around me.
In The Robot Novels, we see humans crowded under domes after sucking the planet dry, eventually overcrowding causes us to move to the stars where land is plentiful and people few, some served by thousands of robots, rarely meeting another human face-to-face. From the disposable use of the planet to the gradual decrease in human interaction, it seems to be a very accurate forecast of where we are going.
I try to fight it by interacting more with the world around me and doing my bits to be more aware of the landfill I personally create but it doesn't seem to be something that the general public really cares about.
The smart device revolution is changing the world in very strange ways. From losing social skills to grammar and simple decency, many things once considered valuable are supplanted by gadgets. I wonder though, when we run out of plastic (think O-I-L), how will this new "ME" society handle it?
The Hunger Games: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7938275-the-hunger-games-trilogy-boxset?from_search=true
Saturday, September 14, 2013
My environment growing up caused me to be quite pessimistic. I also have the tendency to play out future possibilities in my head. This combination often leads me to expect a bad conclusion to something before it ever happens which I wind up stressing over until the event actually occurs.
Yesterday was a good example. I had purchased a set of tires for my car which included free rotation and balancing for the life of the tires. When I brought my car in, they took my initial paperwork and receipt and put it with the work order.
I wandered around the store for quite some time, never hearing my name called. The second time I checked, I found my car had been completed and they had not called me. This, of course, lowered my expectations of their performance. They checked me out and I began driving home when I realized my original paperwork and receipt were missing.
So I turned around and headed back to the store. I was told the service department was closed and was directed to customer service. The clerk there went looking for someone from automotive and it turned out they were not closed and someone was still there. Expectations were again lowered.
The person I spoke with was not the initial person that checked me in and no one was around that knew anything about my missing paperwork. No one was interested in pursuing the matter so I asked when they opened the next day.
That morning, I called only to find out the person that had processed me would not be in for another 2 or 2 1/2 hours. I decided at that time that a face-to-face would be better and drove over to the shop.
I found the person that had served me and was told they did not know where the original paperwork was. Luckily, the other clerk overheard the conversation and told my clerk that the papers had been found and put with last nights papers.
My clerk went looking for the original paperwork and did finally find it. Although the process was stressful and annoying, I let it preoccupy my thoughts and affect my attitude for much more time than it needed.
I recall a management class that used this problem of not being "present" in the moment to teach us a simple technique very useful when you notice such thoughts distracting you, especially at critical times like driving. When you notice you've wandered into a subject from the future or past, say out loud, "Stay!". Refocus on the present and stop thinking about the distraction.
It may take a few times when the issue is particularly strong in your mind so let's hope the windows are rolled up as you drive down the road hollering "stay, Stay, STAY!!!"