Accomplished Fugitives

“We can keep ourselves so busy.

Fill our lives with so many diversions.

Stuff our heads with so much knowledge.

Involve ourselves with so many people

and cover so much ground

that we never have time to probe

the fearful and wonderful world within…

 

By middle life most of us are

accomplished fugitives from ourselves.”

~ John Gardner

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People I know. And learn from.

My 75 year old friend.
Who came out of retirement to help others.
Part of a group that includes former cops, they provide essential services to the community.

The Millennial who went through some difficult stuff
And came out victorious.
Doing so well now — personally and professionally.

And my youngest friend, an energetic 10 year old.
With a wonderful fresh perspective on things.
Flipper likes him too.

Thankful to have them in my life
And you

> > > > >

Occasionally we have “problems” too
Like the time when my 10 yr old friend brought over some fruits
I promptly texted his mom:
“Fruits!?
What’s next — want me to exercise!?”
(Now you see where Flipper, my little feathered-kid, got that attitude toward carrots 🙂

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Perspective

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When in hell, keep on walking

I’m speeding on the highway of life
With so many things to do. And so little time
Work is going well.

 

Before and now — work has given me many feathers in my cap.
A memorable one from an IRS senior enforcement officer who said:
“Mariana, if I ever get audited, I’ll hire you.”

Heads of companies hanging on every word I say.
Or this, from a business owner client: “Boss, just tell me where to sign.”
(Trust. The highest feather in my cap.)

Trade and group associations leaders give me green light on training projects.

 

Yes. Work is going well.
On the highway of life I’m running at 120 miles an hour or faster.
Most of the time.

 

Then it happens
And I stop abruptly.
I’m looking at my life “speedometer.”
And I see something I haven’t seen in many years.

0 miles an hour
I stand still
And look around
I’m in Hell

 

The Hell of Failure

 

No, this is not work-related failure.
But it doesn’t make my walk through hell any easier.
It’s dark in here.
Every step I take requires a huge effort.

 

About five years ago on my project list was to form a “Pets R Family” group.
I’ve never put a date on it.
And it always got pushed to “sometime soon” pile.
Busy with work.

 

I worked on projects with higher priority.
Even though I knew how important is to have this group.
Especially for me.
Birds are not the usual type of pets where I live.
That makes forming a support group for bird-people that much more important.

 

How important?
In 2006 it probably saved Flipper’s life.
No matter how smart you are, when you are in the “eye” of the storm, your thinking can get “cloudy.”
You need people who care.
People who, when you ask them to jump and help, the answer is:
“Open. I’m at your door. How high you need me to jump?”

 

People whose judgement you trust.
That’s what happened in 2006.
Flipper was egg-bound.

 

Had to take her to an out-of-town specialist.
Needed a series of procedures done.
Including a series of injections.
And I wasn’t sure I wanted to put her through that.

 

But the person I was with, who supported me every step of the way, saw things more clearly than I did.
Flipper received the injections.
And delivered the egg (with blood on it but she quickly recovered).

 

Had I been on my own, chances are I would’ve wanted to spare Flipper the pain (from injections).
But being egg-bound is  life-threatening for birds.
Having those injections most likely saved her life.

 

And that’s how important is to have a support group.
People ready to help when needed.
Friends whose judgment you trust.

 

Not forming the Pets are Family group for bird-people (when I knew its importance) — that’s what makes me a big failure.

 

Please don’t write to tell me otherwise.
It would be a wasted effort.

 

The reason I’m writing this:
I’m hoping it will help someone out there.
Someone who needs to hear this now.
And if this post serves as a call to action — then mission accomplished

 

As for me, I’m strong.
I’ll keep on walking
Following the wise advise of people who done it before me:
When in hell, keep on walking.

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Be ONE


One July afternoon.
People walking together.
All as one.

A group of people with different backgrounds.
People with ties to three continents.
Europe. Africa. North America.
All walking together.
All as one.

A group of people with different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Some have their kids taking piano lessons. Others tennis lessons.
And some work hard just to make ends meet.
All walking together.
All as one.

A group of people of different demographics.
Young, and young at heart, all walking together.
All as one.

What does it take to get people together?
People from different backgrounds?
Different socioeconomic classes?
Different demographics?

A call for help.

Just a few words:

Need Help!!!
Sunny flew away.
If you see him, please call me

And within minutes (literally) a group was formed.
And start searching for a lost, and scared, little Sunny.
My feathered-kid.

This happened two years ago this month.
And for me it’s still a lesson that keeps on giving.
A lesson in kindness.
A lesson of what it means to live in a strong, closely-knit community.

“… my husband and I will be there in 10 min.”
Janet and Steve – husband and wife team
You both, and Jill, (the ‘first responders”) provided much needed support from the beginning.

“When you get him home, his feathery little butt is grounded, really!!
Robin, using ‘when” not ‘if’ – words are important.
And can make a big difference. It gave me much needed hope

“Come inside. You need to eat something!”
Kay Lynn, insisting to feed me breakfast..
(I didn’t. But before I turned to leave there was a coffee in my hand.
Strong, much needed coffee.)

You and Dave helped so much.
Especially that evening when Sunny was hovering above.
And you stopped the cars from entering the street.

And many other acts of kindness.
But I’ll stop here.

What was NOT said was just as important.
NO ONE pointed out the obvious mistake I’ve made:
Not keeping Sunny’s wings trimmed.
They knew I was thinking – and berating myself about it – EVERY second.
Sometime being kind is just NOT adding more to the burden someone is already carrying.

 *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I’m forever grateful for all your help
And your kindness
(You can read here about Sunny’s adventure)

Where we are today
I believe our community is as strong as ever.
Yes, we do have some challenges ahead of us.
But what makes it even more challenging is the media.

The media – and its ‘fear porn’ reporting – is influencing our daily lives.

Yes, we need to take safety measures.
For us and our loved ones.
For our community.

But we can NOT, and should NOT, stop living our lives
We can’t allow media (with its sensationalized, attention-grabbing reporting) to turn us into shadows of our former selves.

Be safe
Be strong
Be ONE.

 

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Today’s famous birthday

Today’s famous birthday:
Mark Twain was born on this day in 1835.
The witty American writer is often quoted — his humor is timeless.
Here are some old favorites of mine:

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living.
The world owes you nothing.
It was here first.”

The following two  seem to be custom-made  for today’s “climate” — political or otherwise.

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”
“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”

And this for those of us with an overactive imagination.

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life,
some of which actually happened.”

 

This next one for you animal lovers.

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow;
but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

 

Saving the best for last: something we can all use more of it — today and always.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Yes. Kindness is the universal language we can all understand.

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A time to pause, reflect and put aside our differences.

Thanksgiving week.
A time to pause, reflect, and put aside our differences.
And be grateful for what we have.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on gratitude:

“Gratitude can transform
common days into thanksgivings
and turn routine jobs into joy.”
William Arthur Ward

“Let us be grateful to the people
who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough,
and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos into order,
confusion into clarity
…it makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Melody Beattie

Gratitude. A powerful emotion.
Be kind to one another.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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The lighter side: knowledge, wisdom. And more

Late. Incomplete.
The operative words best describing the paperwork from several clients.
(This past Monday was the deadline for filing taxes; for those who filed extensions.)

Let’s just say my phone conversations were full of “excitement.”
My voice kept going up several decibels at the time.
And I don’t have a small voice to begin with!!

To relax, I took breaks and watched TV — to see the great job our politicians are doing.
(Just kidding!)

To lighten-up and keep things in perspective I turned to some of my favorites:
Mark Twain. And a few others.

Churchill on Liberals and Conservatives:

“Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal,
has no heart;
and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative,
has no brains.”

Bertrand Russell on why we have problems in this world:

“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”

Twain on knowledge, wisdom (or the lack of it):

I would rather have my ignorance
than another man’s knowledge,
because I have so much more of it.

Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did.

 

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Looking Up

Millions of people looking up at the sky.
The news, at the beginning of this week, was dominated by the solar eclipse.
And the many visitors it attracted.
By some accounts, eclipse “chasers” from more than 30 nations were here in the U.S.
(I worked and couldn’t join the “movement.”)

But it was amazing to see, and hear, the reaction of the people who experienced it.
They were using words like:
Primeval feeling. Awesome. Spectacular.  Feeling a sense of community.

Looking up

Maybe we all should do this more often.
Even without a solar eclipse.
In a world that’s going faster and faster — make time to pause and reflect.
Appreciate the beauty of nature.
It will lower your stress level.
And help focus your mind.

Looking up at the beautiful blue sky it’s enough to fill anyone with wonder.

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Lonesome Dove

I’m looking at her. She is no longer eating. Just stays there looking up at us.
Few minutes later I go and look again — to see if she’s gone.

No. She’s still there. Looking at Flipper and Sunny.
It’s getting dark outside. And it’s cold.

Hoping she’s not hurt, I start to open the door.

Thankfully she flies away.

Next evening she’s back with all the others.
(I feed the outside birds and squirrels during the winter months.)
The dove stays there long after everyone else is gone.

Obviously her mate has been killed; and she is in no hurry to go to an empty nest.
She thinks of Flipper and Sunny as her friends now.

Maybe they help her feel less lonely.

 

“Here’s an alarming but little-known figure—stray cats and pet cats allowed outdoors kill 3.6 million birds every day on average in the United States, for a total of at least 1.3 billion birds per year.
A 2011 study found that domestic cats have directly contributed to extinctions of 22 bird species on islands around the world.
Researchers in the United Kingdom estimated that 55 million birds fall prey to domestic cats there each year; in Australia, threats to endangered species led government officials to announce plans for euthanizing 2 million feral cats.
In the U.S., there are about 84 million pet cats, and around 46 million of them are allowed to roam outside. An estimated 30-80 million more live as strays.”

The above excerpts are from an article in The Atlantic Daily. The article describes how two cat owners, Susan Willson and Nancy Brennan, worked together to find a solution to this problem.

Brennan’s cat, George, kept dragging birds in the house. She tied bells on his collar but it didn’t help: “the cat moved too stealthily for the bells to have any sort of warning effect on his prey.”
Birds have excellent color vision
When Brennan read about birds’ excellent color vision  she came up with an idea: make a new collar for the cat using a brightly-colored, multi-patterned fabric.
It worked from the first day — George came back home without any birds.
It worked so well that she decided to make a business out of it. Brennan started selling collars (Birdbesafe).

Willson had similar problems with her cat, Gorilla. A bird biologist, Willson wanted to do an experiment. She contacted Brennan to enlist her help for a study with two controlled groups: one with collars, the other without.
The results: the cats from the group without a collar killed 19 times as many birds as the other group.  The study was published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation.  Australian researchers published a similar study in Applied Animal Behavior journal.

Kindness is a choice
Two loving cat owners who made the choice to be kind to birds and other wildlife. And together found a simple and effective solution — one that prevents so many needless killings!
If your cats go outdoors please have them wear bright-colored collars.
And please share this with your pet owner friends.

Your kindness will be appreciated by your feathered friends.
They will greet you with songs of happiness. Every day.

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