Friends are valuable.

It does not matter your age, social status, religion, or any other “label” current society wants to attach.

A friend will listen. And you will return the favor when they need to talk. Or perhaps you will not talk much–perhaps you sit together and contemplate the world around you.

Perhaps you will do activities together. Lunch out with friends is becoming more valuable as I age. Watching your waistline? Take a walk in the park. Or attend a concert, play, or movie.

These friends in Boston Common are enjoying the day and a bit of fishing in the Frog Pond.



Stress Reduction

Stressed? Harried? Rushing from one task to another without time to draw a deep breath?

Too many of us have too many days of busy, busy, busy. We have work obligations. Family commitments. A friend we’ve not seen in ages sends us a message. That organization we joined calls for volunteers. And the literal pain in our neck returns.

How to slow down without losing valuable items such as employment, family, friends, and health?

Can you find five minutes? A chair or bench is helpful. Take a seat — breath deep — close your eyes — and imagine.

When you can’t visit in person — bring a peaceful scene to mind.



Honoring the Brave

Public art can serve many purposes. It can inspire. It can educate. It prompt conversation.

Some public art reminds us of the important things in life. And people who do heroic things that others may live.

This sculpture honors the brave members of the Boston Fire Department.            A similar place to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of one human helping another in time of need is found in many towns and cities. The next time you pass by one — take a moment to remember the men and women portrayed.

Honor the living also — a kind word when they are buying groceries or collecting funds for a charity is always appreciated.



Do you make lists? Set goals? Plan ahead?

Are you able to find things when needed?

Some of the people I admire most are highly organized. Tools and other objects are always put back into place and easy to find the next time they’re needed. Ask them a question — if they don’t know the answer, they can often suggest a place to find it. (And I don’t mean the now popular “Google that”.)

If your tasks for the day were ducks…where would they be? Migrating? Swimming off in various directions in the same pond? Or…

all in a row…ready to swim on command.

I will admit — I didn’t expect to see organized ducks during a recent visit to Boston.


Contemporary Packing

In a recent entry on this site, I featured an immigrant travel trunk.

Today I’m going to feature a more modern version designed for a shorter trip.

Yes, as a regular reader of this site is aware — I like to travel. Sometimes I venture a few miles from my home and look for interesting things near my home. Tourist attractions such as museums, zoos, and parks are some of the sites I return to over and over.

Sometimes I venture farther from home. And I need to take more items than even an excellent packer can put in a purse and one tote bag.

Arranging clothing, shoes, toiletries, and the all important electronic charging cords for a multi-day journey takes practice. And a container able to withstand modern, mechanical baggage handling.



Are you Packed?

When taking a journey – or moving a household – it is necessary to pack.

Much depends on the length of the journey — how long will you be gone? Will you be returning? Where are you going?

A few generations ago, my ancestors prepared for a journey. They knew it would be long and they didn’t plan to return. So they needed to take many things. Yes, they took their clothing. But they also brought tools, books, and sentimental items.

They also brought invisible items — knowledge, determination, and a sense of justice.

My ancestors — like many immigrants — came from modest means. I suspect they packed all their goods into a contain such as this before they started their voyage to America. But perhaps the container looked plainer and less colorful.

Some immigrant travel chests were beautifully decorated. Others were plain. All needed to be sturdy to protect household goods against the hazards on the journey.


Visible Theme

This piece of repeating interior fencing is in a St. Louis public building.

Yes, this is another photo from the St. Louis Zoo.

For the first time in many years, my son and I went inside the herpetarium. Frogs, and turtles, and snakes! Oh! My! Safe behind glass or in carefully constructed confined habitats, the reptiles and amphibians patiently awaited their next meal.

This is one of the places in the zoo where the human visitors spend a good percentage of their time looking carefully for the camouflaged resident.

There’s one, in the back corner. How many does the sign say? I found the turtle. Where’s the snake? Oh, I don’t want to stumble across him in the wild.


Spread Your Wings

Try new things. Visit new places.

The academic year is new and shiny — full of possibilities.

Not a student or teacher? No problem. This time of year, any time of year, is a good place to stop for a mental minute, assess the situation, and set new goals. There is not rule that all goals must be set in January. In the United States, our summer holidays are over. The official change to fall is a few short weeks away. And the change from daylight to standard time follows quick.

So how have you done? Did you visit one new place in the last year? It counts to play tourist in your home community. Did you eat at a “new to you” restaurant? Or shop in a store you drive past but never enter?

Did you read a book? Try a new author? If your answer is “no”, then I suggest you find your way to a bookstore or library, have a good browse, and walk out with reading material. You never know where a good book will take you — a faraway land, into the past or into the future. Books can giving a new perspective to an old problem or send you into a gale of laughter.

Our Bateleur Eagle friend reminds us to spread our wings — you just might “wow” the audience.

Looking for a book on-line? May I suggest the Crystal Springs Romances: Starr Tree Farm, Hiding Places, and Seed of Desire for a nice introduction to sweet romantic suspense. Click on the title tab above for details and buy links.