For the last several months, I’ve sat at my desk here in my home office / studio. I can look out a big window at three large trees, and the neighbor’s back yard. When I started sitting here, in February, the trees were bare. Now there is a dense canopy of green. And I’ve been utterly amazed at the variety of birds I’ve seen.
The tree in our back yard is a mulberry tree. Did you know there are a lot of birds that like mulberries? (Also squirrels seem to love them).
In the last few weeks I have seen so many different birds in our yard! The sparrows are raising a whole new generation outside the kitchen window. There are at least two Cardinal families – one on either side of the house. Brown Thrashers come to visit. Robins and Starlings too. Red Breasted Grosbeaks have made an appearance. The other day I saw a whole group of Cedar Waxwings in the mulberry tree – those guys are beautiful! And today we’ve had multiple bluebird sightings – a sign of good cheer and prosperity…

As I sat here the other day watching Cedar Waxwings eat mulberries, noticing how pretty they were, I realized that had I still been working at my last job, I never would have gotten to see these birds. And when I am old, or when I am dying, looking back, which would give me more pleasure – having watched a beautiful bird in a beautiful green tree, or filling out another form for my boss?

It all comes down to the choices we make. It comes down to being mindful of where we are in each moment. It comes down to making sure each choice we make, in each moment, is in line with how we really want to live our lives.
It’s so easy to distract oneself from the present moment, and our society seems built on making this as easy as possible. To go against it requires vigilance, a rejection of many things we’re surrounded with, and the ability to make different choices that may not be as easy.
Now is the time to slow down, rededicate myself to being more mindful, and make good choices. So, here we go.

I wish I had some bird photos to post here, but I can never get anything good with an iPhone through several panes of glass. I’ll keep trying…


my trip to canada, part one – begin with The END

So I went to Canada last week. While I was there, I wrote a bit, and was planning to come back and put it all together to put up on my blog. But then The Flight Home happened, and I decided to begin the stories starting at the end. So here is Part One – The Flight Home or,
The day started at 3:50 a.m. when I got up, had a bit of breakfast, and got driven in to Toronto from the Canadian countryside. Vacation was over, it was time to go home. I sat in the airport for a few hours reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, possibly the funniest book I’ve ever read, btw… anyway, as soon as the plane took off I fell asleep and had an uneventful flight to Chicago, where I bought an overpriced sandwich and mediocre chocolate. I debated searching for a Chicago Starbucks city mug, but decided against it, as I figured my boyfriend might not let me in the house with 4 new Starbucks mugs. Yes, I already had 3 in my bag – Boston (a gift brought to Canada for me), Toronto, and the all-encompasing “Canada” mug. And I had refrained from buying 2 more – Niagra Falls and Cambridge didn’t make the cut. I know my boyfriend already thinks I have a Starbucks mug problem. OK so maybe I do a little. But once you start, you can’t stop. Like potato chips. Or bubble wrap.
So I skipped the Chicago mug (I’ll be back, Chicago!) and schlepped onto the plane home, and promptly also fell asleep. Everything seemed to be so straightforward… until about 30 minutes before we were supposed to land…
I woke up and was kind of dozing in and out until this happened, then I was wide awake. Here is my (slightly edited) notes that I took, on the fly (on the fly, get it, get it?) for the rest of the flight. Enjoy…
OMG this will make a GREAT blog post and the perfect end to my great Northern Vacation 2014.
I was just sitting here thinking about writing a blog post called “Why I Would Make a Terrible Flight Attendant” when the Captain just came on the intercom and said we’re 30 minutes out of Tulsa but when we took off there was a “slight jerk to the right” which was “abnormal.” It’s nothing to be worried about he said, they don’t think anything is wrong, but as a precaution they are having the emergency trucks on the runway for us. They are going to fly the plane once over the runway so that the ground crew can inspect the landing gear, then I guess we’ll go for it…
My first reaction was to laugh uncontrollably but I stifled it down to a loud smirk.
So now we sit here and wait to meet our possible doom. I notice a knot in my chest as well as my stomach – now the one in my stomach is tighter – no wait now it’s a tie again…
Several things are going through my mind. My Trust documents are set up… Too bad I didn’t get it on with my boyfriend one last time before I left on vacation… Will this take long? Because I don’t have an extra sandwich. No one is going to believe this one! I’m never flying this airline again. Will my new Starbucks mugs get smashed? Will I have to slide down the emergency exit slides because the plane is on fire?
This should be fun.
Hopefully I’ll get back to this and write the ending which will be uneventful and quite frankly, a bit of a letdown. If I don’t make it and somehow my iPhone survives the ensuing 100 foot fireball from hell, and you read this, please tell my family I love them and that Tiffany’s chocolate cake from last week was the best, as was Magda’s lasagna. And tell my boyfriend that he was The One but now he’s on his own and he should remain a bachelor in mourning for the rest of his days… But he can go ahead and sell my stuff.

12:58 – starting our descent. to be continued…

13:00 – the flight attendant is showing written instructions to the people sitting in the emergency exit row. My stomach is all, WTF??!? In all my years of flying, I’ve never experienced anything like this. Which is good since that must mean it doesn’t happen too often, but bad because it’s happening now and I’d rather it didn’t.

Last week Magda showed me the “TAT pose,” a pose you can practice to reduce stress. It looks kinda ridiculous but it might be worth a try as we land. If they find my charred remains with one hand on the back of my head and the other pressing three fingers around my nose and forehead, you’ll know I went peacefully.

13:04 – Ha! I can’t believe this is happening to me. Trying to keep from cracking up with laughter. Stomach not amused, brain finds this hilarious!

13:06 – Captain comes on again to remind us that he is expecting a normal landing but we’re doing the pass-by first, etc. He says we’ll “land” in about 15 minutes and that we should “sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of our flight.”
I hope I have enough battery left on my phone to get this all…

13:10 – feeling calm. I have yanked all the skin off my cuticles though. If I survive I’m totally buying the Maserati Ghibli that’s on the back page of the Wall Street Journal the guy 2 rows up is reading. I’ll deserve it.

13:12 – OMG they’re gonna find my remains and the only way they’ll be able to identify my body is by the totally lame horrible 18th century Mennonite* Canadian feminine hygiene products I’m using that were the only ones I could find in the tiny country town we were near, when “that time” showed up, cramps and all, ONE WEEK EARLY. I should’ve realized this was a sign of doom.

13:16 – The stewardess is telling us what to do if the captain instructs us to “brace”… I didn’t manage to pay attention. Sit back, head between knees, arms down… Wait, where do my arms go? WAIT can you tell me gain please?? Wait!!

13:18 – You can cut the tension in here with a… Something not very sharp.

13:20 – Am I having a panic attack? I don’t think so but my chest is right. Low enough that I can now see cars, houses, etc. Lookout below!

13:23 – Just flew over the runway. Saw fire truck and ambulance ready to go, lights flashing. Captain still silent…

13:26 – Still no announcement. But we’re ascending back into the clouds. From what I can smell I’m not the only one with a nervous stomach.

Captain just announced that everything looked normal when we passed over the airport so we can land normally. YEAH WELL WE’LL SEE CAPTAINMAN! WE’LL SEE!!!

13:32 – Ready for the Real Landing… we’ve come around and are descending again. The mood is lighter but were all a little suspicious of the cap’n…

13:34 – Touchdown! Or whatever. Wait, we’re stopped on the runway, what’s going on? Did they discover flames coming out of the bathroom or something? Did something happen after all?

13:38 – Nope, no flaming bathroom. We continue to the gate. Everything’s ok.
13:44 – OK now we can’t get off the plane because something’s wrong with the jetbridge. The cap’n just thanked us for our patience as we have “our little adventure” this afternoon…

13:46 – Door opens. Fresh air! Freedom!! Get ME OFF THE EFFING PLANE.

We didn’t crash. We didn’t have to “brace” for our landing. We did survive. My feelings are mixed. Am I a little disappointed there was no drama? No hellacious fireball? Not really. Now I can go out for sushi with my boyfriend and I’ll have a good story to tell.
brace for landing!
brace! this is NOT how i want to go…
*No offense to any Mennonites out there. I’m sure your girlie products are all up to date and modern and stuff.