Odds: One in a Million or a Million to One

I read a post where the blogger sent a thank you note to an author about how much she liked her memoir. The author responded that she was touched by such a heartfelt note and it meant a lot to her. The blogger, who had written a similar memoir about her own situation, was flabbergasted by the author’s response. The author’s memoir was everything she felt that her memoir lacked– similar topics, but much different approaches.

You may not win the million to one odds of the lottery or some other contest, but you could easily be that million to one, by offering someone a smile, a compliment, or most any type of positive recognition. While it may not mean much to you, it can mean the world to them.

Decades ago, while I was in library school, I was sitting next to a friend of a friend who was lamenting how this other (third) girl was everything she was not. I glibly told her, that the other girl would be nothing without her blow drier (since her hair was one of her chief features.) The person I was talking to told me how much that better that offhand observation made her feel. So you never know when you might be that one in a million that can make a difference.

A smile, kind glance
or happenstance
a Pardon me
or to really see
can improve another's day
make it brighter in every way.

It costs you nothing
but has great value
You might try it
but shall you?


When Life throws you a curve ball
How do you respond?
Do you try to retaliate
Or rise above and beyond?

Despite what you think
You do have a choice.
Show by your actions
and the use your voice.

When I was working, I had a good friend who often elected to laugh rather than get upset when something went wrong. I was amazed at her ability to not get angry under circumstances that had me going. Although she could have a red-headed temper if provoked, she elected not to respond that way on many occasions. Often we can choose how we will respond to provocation.

I once was ambushed by another employee who accused me of things of that were more a figment of his imagination than things that actually happened. Since I was dumbfounded by what was going on, I let him rant and ramble without comment. The longer his outburst lasted the less plausible it sounded. By my saying nothing, he did himself more harm than if I had stopped his monologue by trying to defend myself.

For me, both of these were learning experiences that we can choose how we respond and some responses produce better results than others.

How will you choose?

Changing Heart into Art

I got this “quote” that Jean Marie (https://jeanmarieolivieri.wordpress.com/2023/01/25/free-online-poetry-workshops/) made in her comments section.

We listen to the Muses' siren voice
Our artistic soul responds, 
we have no choice
but to create with lines drawn or writ.
Are they any good?
Probably not one bit

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” The meaning behind this, in theory, is simple. To be considered elite and truly experienced within a certain craft, you must practice it for ten thousand hours. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2019/10/24/the-magic-number-of-greatness/?sh=b956d2454bba

Although 10,000 is a made up number, it does reinforce that old adage that “Practice makes perfect.” No athlete ever won a championship because of talent–it took lots of practice, help from coaches, hours of working out in the gym, and iterations of repetition.

The same thing can apply to the arts, (writers, composers, dancers, actors, performers and artists of all mediums). Even if practice does not make for perfect, it will make for improvement.

Craft – an activity involving skill in making things by hand.

Skill does not come from talent, it comes from practice and repetition. So hone your craft–don’t just wait for your muse to inspire.

January 12 is National Hot Tea Day

A frigid January day would be a perfect day for a cuppa..

History of National Hot Tea Day

Tea has been consumed for almost 5,000 years. In 2737 B.C., during the Tang Dynasty, legend has it that some tea leaves fell into a pot of water that was being boiled for Chinese emperor Shen Nung. He drank the brew and found it delicious and relaxing.

In 2016, the earliest known physical evidence of tea was discovered in the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xi’an, indicating that tea, from the genus Camellia, was drunk by Han dynasty emperors, as early as the 2nd century B.C. The Han dynasty work, “the Contract for a Youth,” written in 59 B.C., contains the first known reference to boiling tea. The first record of tea cultivation is also dated to this period, during which tea was cultivated on Meng Mountain.

Tea was first introduced to Western priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. The first recorded shipment of tea by a European nation was in 1607, when the Dutch East India Company moved a cargo of tea from Macao to Java. Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657, Samuel Pepys tasted tea in 1660, and Catherine of Braganza took the tea-drinking habit to the English court when she married Charles II in 1662.

Tea smuggling during the 18th century made tea accessible to the public. The British government removed the tax on tea, thereby eliminating the smuggling trade, in 1785. The popularity of tea played a role in historical events — the Tea Act of 1773 provoked the Boston Tea Party that escalated into the American Revolution. By the late 19th century, tea had become an everyday beverage for every social society.

The Tea Council of the U.S.A. was founded in 1950, and National Hot Tea Day was created by the council in 2016.

Black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and purple tea are all made from the camellia sinensis tea plant. Each of these teas develops its unique characteristics through different harvesting and processing methods. Some teas are steamed, some are pan-fired. Some are allowed to oxidize and some aren’t. Some tea leaves are hand-formed into tightly rolled balls, while other tea leaves are roughly chopped, or left to air-dry in their natural shape. Some teas are harvested in the first weeks of the spring season, while others are harvested in the summer and fall.

What time is best for tea?
Any time is fine with me
With a group or all alone
With just a book to call my own

Can tea from a bag be considered tea?

Resolution Revolution

What if this year
You resolved to be kinder to yourself
not beating yourself up
you failed to
exercise more
eat less
keep a cleaner house
work harder
sleep more
waste less time

With a surplus of kindess
you might find that
you have
more for yourself
more to share
more things to enjoy
more light in your life
less strife
less discord
less unhappiness
less misery

What if you try it for 
a day
a week
a month?

January 3 is Humiliation Day

No, it is not a day to channel your inner bully.

Unlike its literal meaning, it is not a day to humiliate one another or spread hatred, but to relinquish our pride and become humble before a higher power or other people. In this context, the idea of humiliation has its origins in Protestant Christianity, where it means to leave one’s pride behind and come as equal human beings before God. It is important to humble ourselves to stop judging others based on their differences. Humiliation Day should be observed by all, regardless of religion.


History of Humiliation Day

On July 20, 1775, Congress issued a proclamation recommending the observance of a day of fasting, public humiliation, and prayer for the English Colonies under the blessing of King George the Third. The declaration was distributed to all the towns in the colonies. The goal was to pray for the civil and religious rights and privileges of the colonies. It became a big success with broad participation, and ever since then, Congress has issued a day of humiliation and prayer every year.

General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, also called for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer for his soldiers on May 6, 1779. The soldiers ceased all activities and labor for one day. Some Presidents didn’t make the proclamation during their term. Still, on March 23, 1798, U.S. President John Adams revived the tradition. He recommended the observance of a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer where the citizens would halt their worldly preoccupations and show their humble selves to a higher power.

In the year 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote to the Senate stating that the country had to observe a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer to please God. It was a plea to help the country and its citizens find inner peace and become more spiritual and devoted to God. Humiliation Day has become more secular recently, and acts of kindness and humility are done more for charitable causes than to appease God.

To see each other as having worth
No matter where they live on earth
No one better than his brother
Each the equal of each other

Humiliation is a game
where bullies are the ones to blame
not the victims they want to shame

Animal bullies–Buddy and Bully Senior

T’was the Night before New Years

T'was the night before New Years
And in every room
People cooked up resolutions
with forboding and doom

To be better people
Walk further, eat less
Clean-up all bad habits
That made life a mess

Some made self bets
On how long they would keep
the improved habits
that might allow them more sleep

A day or a week
One month or more?
It  was like counting sheep
and they began to snore

Some ditched resolutions
Said they never work
What other fresh do-overs
Were they willing to shirk?

When the New Year arrived
the time of fresh starts
Some people still carried
last year in their hearts

The wounds and the hurts
keep poisoning lives
stillborn new hopes
with no chance to thrive

What your resolve
may live or may die
But you'll never find out
If you don't even try.

Only about eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions successfully complete their goals. By planning ahead, setting realistic timelines and preparing for the stress of change, people have a better chance of meeting their resolution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nathan Clark/Released)

SatNav ( a poem contributed by EasyMalc)

Although Malc may or may not have written it, this poem does deserve to be shared. For anyone who has ever had the benefit of a backseat (or even front seat) passenger. I can honestly say that it can refer to any driver that repeatedly gets the benefit of a passenger’s unsolicited (and often unwanted) opinion.

 I have a little Satnav
It sits there in my car 
A Satnav is a driver's friend 
It tells you where you are 

I have a little Satnav
I've had it all my life 
It's better than the normal ones
My Satnav is my wife 

It gives me full instructions 
Especially how to drive 
"It's thirty miles an hour", it says 
"You're doing thirty five"  

It tells me when to stop and start 
And when to use the brake 
And tells me that it's never ever 
Safe to overtake 

It tells me when a light is red 
And when it goes to green 
It seems to know instinctively 
Just when to intervene  

It lists the vehicles just in front
And all those to the rear 
And taking this into account 
It specifies my gear. 

 I'm sure no other driver 
Has so helpful a device 
For when we leave and lock the car 
It still gives its advice  

It fills me up with counselling
Each journey's pretty fraught
So why don't I exchange it
And get a quieter sort?  

Ah well, you see, it cleans the house, 
Makes sure I'm properly fed,
It washes all my shirts and things 
And keeps me warm in bed!  

Despite all these advantages 
And my tendency to scoff, 
I only wish that now and then 
I could turn the bugger off. 

Buffalo Has 6 Feet of Snow

Another reason why getting old sucks….

Buffalo has six feet of snow
Someplace I don't want to go
As I grow older
It feels much colder
This at least I think I know

Years ago, back in my prime
I used to delight in winter time
I'd shovel our walk and the neighbors too
But now my shoveling days are through
Staying in feels more sublime

I used to skate and also sled
Now I stay inside instead
Hope for rain instead of snow
so outside I can safely go
Better safe than hurt or dead.

Some of you may think I'm crazy
Maybe old or  maybe lazy
But someday you will be old too
And you will find things harder to do
But your recall will have become hazy.

National Coloring Book Day is August 2

Remember back in the olden days, when your works of art were good enough to be hung in the finest home galleries? (Perhaps yours were proudly displayed on the refrigerator door?)

Celebrate your inner child again by finding a coloring book — participate in National Coloring Book Day.

Be a rebel today
Color outside the lines
Paint the sky green
Your imagination defines
What is right
What is wrong
This is where  you belong
It's restful and peaceful
It's good for your soul
You are the master
You're in control.
The artwork is yours
in charge of the page
Relax and enjoy
no matter your age

April 3 is Find a Rainbow Day

A beautiful ukelele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

When the sun’s rays are refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere at a certain angle, the light disperses and forms a colorful arc across the sky, called the rainbow. The basic science behind a rainbow was first explained by Issac Newton with his Prism dispersion experiment.

Colors of the rainbow
Each a different hue
Beautiful together
To let the sun shine through

Magical when we see it
God's promise after rain
A hope for better times ahead
with more joy and less pain

Red, orange, yellow, green,
blue, indigo and violet.
What you see is what you get.