Tag Archives: Writing

My Random and Lofty Bucket List

Greetings! Welcome to my little corner of the world and my random blog where I post about random subjects. Today, I am writing my infamous bucket list.

Now not everyone believes in doing such a thing. Silly some say. But I do believe in dreams. I do believe in reaching out for the almost impossible. I do believe in my “passion plan”, and I do believe in reaching just beyond what is realistic. It is quite amazing what you can do, where you can go, and what you can accomplish if you j just let your mind go and consider the possibilities.

We all have heard of that infamous quote “Reach for the moon…….if you miss you will land amongst the stars”. I believe this to be true. I aim high. I work towards it. But even if I fall short? I am way ahead of where I would be without the lofty goal to begin with.

Hence……a bucket list. A list of dreams. I list of possibilities. I realize accomplishing the list could be impossible. But I can tell you this……I will hit most of them!!

My Bucket list (no specific order…..and as you will see……the majority of it is travel destinations and experiences. These are the “things” that enrich life, broaden our world view, and make us better people. This I believe. Will keep it to twenty.

1. LIVE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY FOR 3-6 MONTHS – I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel quite a bit, but it will never be enough (as you will see in the upcoming list) I would like to be able to stay long enough to immerse myself in the culture, really get used to the food, and make a few friends that will stick. Would be great material for a book, yes?

2. TAKE A THREE MONTH TREK ACROSS EUROPE – I have wanted to do this my entire life. Trains, buses, trams, and a different city every few days or week. I have though about this, written about this, bought books about this. And one day…..I will do this. I have a bullet journal that I add to whenever I learn something new about doing this adventure…..solo……backpack only.

3. VOLUNTEER IN AN ELEPHANT SANCTUARY IN THAILAND – does this really need an explanation? I think not!

4. BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR – If I could have my dream life, it would be to live in a cottage or villa by the water and be able to write books all day. I have written for years, and will be published someday.

5. STAND BEFORE THE ACROPOLIS IN ATHENS, GREECE – Wow. I know this is on this bucket list, but it has been on a bucket list of mine long term, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating, but? I’M GOING IN DECEMBER!! CRIKEY!!!

6. CONQUER THE WALK ACROSS ENGLAND TO ROBIN HOOD’S BAY – I have wanted to do this for years. It’s about 125 miles or so? In 11-13 days. I would live to just walk that whole trek with a group doing the same thing and photograph the entire journey. More book material?

7. GO ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI WITH MY CAMERA – This certainly is a lofty goal due to the basic issue of money. I just simply have to see some of those magnificent animals before they are gone forever.

8. SEE THE AMAZON IN ECUADOR AND PERU BEFORE ITS GONE – There are group excursions that do this, where you experience the Amazon, in canoes down rivers, eat with indigenous tribes, explore jungles and learn about the medicines created there. MUST DO THIS.

9. RIDE A CAMEL IN THE SAHARA DESERT – Morocco has been on my list of must-go’s for quite a while and I’m not even sure why. It just looks fascinating, so colorful and totally different than anything I have ever experienced. This is top three on my must see list, and I may even be able to pull this off next year? Time will tell.

10. OWN MY TINY HOUSE ON MY OWN LAND –  I live pretty minimally and don’t need a big space. I like small, compact, low maintenance, I have researched tiny homes for years. I would like to live mostly off grid, in a peaceful place, in Northern Arizona

11. STAND IN FRONT OF THE STATUE OF DAVID IN FLORENCE – One of the most spectacular pieces of art in the world. It is said that every angle gives a different view that it is so perfect. Just have to see this.

12. SPEND AN ENTIRE WEEK IN LONDON TO EXPLORE – This has always been something I have wanted to do. I would want to go in the Fall just when it is starting to get chilly!

13. OWN A GREENHOUSE – Grow some of my own food? Oh yes please! The picture in my mind is my tiny house, about 400sqft, to the left of it is a small working structure, just for writing, my photography, etc. My workspace apart from my living space. And a greenhouse, with yummy things I can grow and eat. My dream.

14. READ 52 BOOKS IN A CALENDAR YEAR – One of these years I will do this….the closest I have gotten so far has been 32.

15. HAVE A PICNIC WITH THE EIFEL TOWER IN VIEW – A sandwich, or baguette, a drink, on a blankety of some kind, looking at that magnificent structure. Oh yes!

16. VISIT AUSCHWEITZ – This is a somber subject for a Bucket List but I simply have to go. I have read hundreds of books on this time in our world history, and I truly believe that if we don’t learn from our history, it is bound to repeat itself. I have always been drawn to these things, as I am classified as an “extreme empath”, so the trail of tears and the Native Americans, the cemeteries, the slave quarters on Southern plantations. This is something I must do.

17. SPEND A MONTH IN THE CITY OF PRAGUE – I fell in love with this city when I visited there last year. My sister and I sat on hotel beds late at night and talked about coming back but staying for a month. Definitely will do this.

18. CUTTING DOWN TO WORKING ONLY PART TIME – This is a must. If I can work hard for a few more years and cut down my career hours, then this list will be much more doable!!

19. DUBLIN PUB CRAWL – I have always wanted to visit Ireland, and for all the times I have been back to England I have never been. This simply MUST chang!

20. Ok, so there’s no way  can keep it to 20, so this one will be one long sentence – Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, See the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, Visit Macchu Piccu in Peru, See the hand bridge in Viet Nam, Touch the Berlin Wall, See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan, See tulips in Amsterdam and the windmills, Stand on the mountains in Austria, Visit Russia, Listen to the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia, See an Opera in Vienna, Take a Thermal Bath in Budapest, Visit Bruges, Lake Bled, Slovenia, Carriage ride in Krakow, All day in art museums in Paris, Quebec City Canada, See a live Broadway show in NYC, Ride the red Tain through the Alps, Own a dog, Sit on a beach all day and read in the Mediterranean. 

What’s on your bucket list?

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Don’t forget to dream!

Until next time………be kind………..always,

Polley93

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London

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. As you are probably aware if you have followed my blog, I was born in England, so she will always have a special place in my heart. I have been back several times, and each time I fall more in love with London. It has got to be one of the world’s most fascinating cities. It has everything. The people, the old, the new, the history, the castles, the pageantry, the pubs, the food, the quirkiness. It has everything. You can say I am in love with London,

As an American, being in London makes you feel like you have stepped inside of a fairy tale. From the moment you step off the plane, see Unisex toilet signs, hear the accents, and see those black taxis……well you have stepped inside of page four. You have Queens and castles. You have football teams and colored scarves. You have fish and chips and beer and pubs. You have double decker buses and people speaking English words but you have no earthly clue what they are saying. The money is cool, the food is great, the people are friendly, every corner offers a new surprise. It’s endless.

Note: All photos are my own.

HYDE PARK

One of my favorite places in London, It’s a beautiful park. Wide walkways, endless views, statues, Italian gardens, THE Peter Pan STATUE!!!

TOWER OF LONDON

Seriously? King Henry VIII, the beefeaters, the gate where Anne was transported to her prison before she lost her head. You realize its not a Netflix film or a story, it is REAL. The ghosts are everywhere. Amazing Amazing place. Truly.

QUIRKY SIDE OF LONDON

London has a unique personality. Ton of different neighborhoods that are all different in their own right. You always run into things that are just typically London. Especially the pubs.

TOWER BRIDGE

Just the coolest bridge ever. It’s great to walk across the whole thing. No photo shot of this bridge is a bad one. It is a towering example of majesty.

BRITISH FARE

No words necessary.

London at Its best

There are endless treasures in London. Ive been there several times but have barely scratched the surface of the endless city. I will have to go back. I’m not sure when, but I will return!

After writing this and hunting down photos, I am homesick. I would love to hop a plane, eat fish and chips in the rain, sit on a park bench in Hyde Park all day with a notebook and pen and write, find a pastry or two with a hot cuppa, find fruit pastels and eat them until I’m ill, and those traditional English breakfasts? YESSSSSSS.

I need to start researching possibilities and start putting more money in that jar!!

Until next time……..be kind……..always,

Polley93

Random Acts of Kindness – Reaching Out to the Homeless

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. Thank you for spending your moments here with me.

The homeless. A big subject. And I feel there is a definite stigma to this whole thing. Similar to the stigma that follows Mental Illness. The stigma usually lives within the ignorant. The ones who sit and judge things that they haven’t taken the time to get beyond the lack of knowledge about. Without knowledge comes lack of empathy. Without empathy follows judgement. I don’t know a single person who chooses, or enjoys being mentally ill. It is a daily struggle, feeling alone, no answers to match the thousands of daily doubts and fears that come with.

Being homeless is no different. Who would want to live homeless? Sleeping on street corners and park benches. Being looked down upon, and being so hungry you hold up a cardboard sign on a street corner. I have heard statements such as:

They should work like the rest of us.

I won’t give them money, they will just use it on drugs.

They are just lazy.

People walk by, judging, elevating themselves as “better”. Better than what? Most of us are a paycheck or two or three away from being homeless ourselves. Add mental illness to the equation and you have many unmedicated, unsupported, poor, hungry, people literally living on the street. On the STREET. No where to shower, use a restroom, just rest their bodies. Rest their souls.

Nobody should live like that.

Now, none of us can save the world.. Fix the homeless catastrophe. Many believe if they can’t do something big, worthy, notable, well then……they just do nothing. I have always believed it takes many to do a little, as opposed to a few doing it all.

My mantra: Do what you can. With what you have. Where you are. So I have adopted this ideology into my daily life. No matter what town I’m in, what I’m doing, not being dependent on how much extra money I may or may not have. I can always do SOMETHING.

So here’s what I have started to do. My little contribution. May not make a difference to the masses But I know it has made a difference to the few. I collect things on sale and save it in a box. I get quart sized ziplock bags and fill them with some randomness, a few necessities, and a love note. Letting them know that someone cares. With a positive quote or whatever strikes me at the time.

Here’s an example of things I put in my bags I hand out to strangers. And I have to admit, some have become friends. I have learned more from the homeless people I have hung out with than I could ever impart. It has been a life habit I am thankful I have adopted. It’s just my little contribution.

I have bought a loaf of bread, sandwich meat and cheese, turned it into sandwiches, fruit and small bags of chips and hung out at a homeless park. The pureness of heart and the absolute gratitude by sharing simple sandwiches is overwhelming. To hear the stories, of how they got to where they are, their hopes and dreams are not too different than mine. To be accepted, loved, and to feel safe. And I have never done this where I wasn’t offered to share what little they had. One time I got a rock. A rock! But it was a “lucky rock” that a man had carried in his pocket for over a year. I still have it. Precious to me.

I lived up in Ukiah California, which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco in a hotel. As I walked to my car, I noticed a man with a bike, rummaging through the trash. Heartbreaking. I went to a restaurant across the road and bought two breakfasts to go and two coffees. I went back to the parking lot, and he was still at it. I walked over to him and said hello. He immediately looked at me, with shame, and guilt hidden behind his eyes. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked him what he was looking for. He just said two words. “I’m hungry”. I invited him to come sit on this small wall with me that was in this parking lot. I offered him breakfast and we sat there for over an hour. We ate, we shared stories, we laughed, we cried as well.

I’m nothing special. I struggle just like we all do. I have a busy job, and I’m alone most of the time. But I do what I can. With what I have. Where I am. And I’m telling you, it makes a difference. He probably gave me more than I gave to him that day.
His name was Elias. And he is my friend.

I am hoping that if your eyes have reached this far, that you can collect a pearl to take away with you. Perhaps something to think about.

Until next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

Writing A Book

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. Thank you so very much for stopping by and spending your moments here.

Writing a book. As always, there is a story behind this. A “method to my madness” so to speak. I have always loved to write. I have always loved to read. I educated myself along with my children, and thought I would write a book about what it was like to be a Healthcare Provider in a very broken healthcare system. I had visions of research and graphs and all kinds of amazing data. I thought I couldn’t do it from simply an Arizona perspective so I started traveling out there to different locations to see how Healthcare was in different areas of the country. It was the same. Broken. So now I was ready to write a book.

I invested in a new laptop and got all organized and started writing. Lo and behold what came out of my fingertips was not educated and PhD’ish and graphs and data. It was about a little boy who woke up in a different land. I kid you not.

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Whaaaaattt???? Where the hell did this come from? I honestly have no idea. None.

This has been a work in progress. I have picked it up and put it down more times than I can count. Every time I pick it up and read it, I can’t believe I wrote it. I get inspired, write a few more chapters and repeat. I still don’t have any idea how this story will end or what will happen, I truly don’t. I just know that there are people, personalities, beliefs, quotes, places etc from my life that is woven, unintentionally, into every page, I find that pretty amazing.

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I will be participating again in NaNoWriMo this year. I started this book during that back in 2014 (thats when I started this blog, although it was in a coma for almost three years, just gave the blog CPR and am committed now) I am considering finishing my first draft during November. Considering.

And so here you go! My preface and the beginning of my book. About Eli and his adventures. It has a little bit of everything in it. It literally has become may fifth child. Please leave a comment with criticism if you would. For us novice writers, that is the  best gift in the world. Sometimes we are way too close and cannot see the forest for the trees.

264 MOONS – PREFACE

Eli laid on the soft mat he called his safe place for all of the circles of life he had memory of. His mat was flush with the floor of the awkward structure he called his home. It was only he and his mother residing there. One single thought of his mother filled his heart to the brim with that overflowing feeling of warmth. The feeling he could only describe as safe, comfort and love. Eli had lived nine circles. He was facing a small window to the side of his mat looking at the moon and letting his thoughts float without direction or purpose. It was the 264th moon. Usually this was a good thing. Looking at the moon at the end of every day was something special he and is mother would share every night together. They had gazed upon hundreds and hundreds of them together as they shared their thoughts and dreams in the quiet. The orange moon did not happen often, but when it did, Eli thought you could almost reach out and touch it. The orange moon was so full, round and big that it seemed to kiss the earth and linger there. Eli loved those nights.  It was on those nights something special happened. the light and color of that orange moon skimmed over the hills and the huts and made everything glow and almost sparkle. The moon could keep you company on those nights where sleep stayed distant and thoughts ran wild. Eli learned to depend on the moon. For some unexplained reason, he would feel comforted just looking up in the dark and seeing it hanging there. Different shapes at times, but faithful.

Eli loved the moon. but not this one. Not the 264th moon during the ninth circle of his life. Eli thought if he shut his eyes tightly enough perhaps he could drown out the light of that dreaded moon. Why did it have to be this way? And why him? He wasn’t special. Just a boy with a mother who had lived in this land for all of the circles of his life. Who created this life changing rule that on the 264th moon, a boy with only nine circles of life behind him, could possibly wake up in a new land, knowing nothing about it, and knowing not a soul? There were only three other lands that were spoken of and they all sounded frightening. Were there other boys that were in their ninth circle of life laying on their mats having similar thoughts? Are they afraid? Will they miss their mothers as much as he would miss his mother every single day and with every moon he gazed upon at night? Eli had never lived even one moon of one circle without his mother. As his eyes became heavier, and the more he fought, the closer he got to drifting off to sleep. Then the light of that 264th moon would creep in through his window and he would slowly open his eyes; and shudder.

Like I said…..work in progress.

I don’t know if I will self publish. I don’t have any idea about book covers, marketing, or next step in this process. I think I basically need to get this first draft completed (November 30, 2018 – Thanks NaNo!) Edit it. And get some beta readers to cut it up, slice and dice it. Then I will figure the rest out!

Hope you enjoyed a teaser of my first novel. I would so much appreciate a comment from you some criticism, anything to help me move forward with this literary journey, where I literally am flying by the seat of my pants!

Until next time……..be kind……..always,

Polley93

Minimalism – What is it?

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. As always, I thank you for stopping by and spending a few of your moments here with me. I have always maintained that the most precious thing we have, is our moments. Once they are spent, they are gone. So I appreciate you. And I mean that.

Remember always……you are enough. You always have been, you always will be.

I was out visiting my son a couple of years ago, in Denver, and he suggested a Netflix show. Honestly? It didn’t sound too interesting to me, but I trust my son and went with it. Minimalism. What the heck was minimalism and what was I about to spend my next who knows how many moments on? He told me “think you’re really gonna like this one mom”. Trust took over. Cue up the show. Get comfy. Press play.

The opinions in this blog are simply my own. Just how I choose to live my life. No more and no less. Keep an open mind!

Little did I realize my life was about to change.

This documentary touched on so many things I believe in. Primarily consumerism. The rat race. The hectic race to get to nowhere. The thought that when we get that house we can be happy. When we get that raise then all will be well. When I can afford that new car life will be better. Keeping up with the insanity of fashion that is programmed through advertising and social media to change literally every seven days. So good luck keeping up with that. We need to afford better food, a nicer garden, a club membership, new furniture, the latest makeup break through, that new work out program, that vacation way over THERE. Bigger and better. Keep up! Keep up! Don’t be left behind! Keep the hell UP!

Exhausting. And what is it all for? You work hard, get the house, the car, the membership, the wardrobe, wearing the latest makeup, going on the vacation that you are too exhausted to enjoy, freak out at the balance on your credit card, and repeat. By this time, the newer versions of your car are advertised, the fashion has changed and your closet is outdated, the makeup is taking up enormous room in your bathroom, and the race……..the race continues. You see? It’s created that way. To be an ongoing race. So that we are made to believe we need more. We deserve more. So we spend more. Get an extra credit card, I mean, we deserve it right?

Wrong…….so wrong.

img_1716Minimalism. A new concept for me. Living with less. What does that mean? I watched the Netflix documentary at least a dozen times. And it resonated with me in a big way. Why do we need so much “stuff”? Why is it that when I go into a store I come out with ten more things than I went in there for? Shrinking my life down sounded really good to me.

I had already given up my rented home, stored my belongings in a 10×10′ storage unit, gave my car to my son, took a job traveling to different locations (mostly outlying as I like to treat the poor and homeless), they put me up with somewhere safe to live, and a rental car to commute back and forth to work. So I felt after learning more about minimalism, I had a good start without  even realizing that was what I was doing. The next big thing I did was get rid of every single recurrent payment, membership, and bill I possibly could. I cancelled my makeup monthly deliveries (most of it I was giving away or using once and it found its home under the bathroom counter) cancelled Netflix, gym membership, several other monthly memberships I had myself convinced I “deserved”. Everything. I am proud to say the only bills I have now is a cell phone bill, my storage bill, and the IRS (thats another blog, don’t get me started on how corrupt the American IRS is……..)

So? It began. I started really thinking about what I NEEDED. Different concept. I started with the concept of going through almost everything, every little thing, and ask myself “will I use this in the next 30 days?” If the answer was honestly “No” I put it in a box. What was left I asked “will I use this in the next 90 days?” Again, if the answer was “No” I put it in the box. Everything that was boxed was either sold, given away to charity or pitched out. And I mean I went through everything. My clothes, makeup, books, (bought a Kindle and store all my books on it) personal items, everything down to my sock drawer. Do I really need a full drawer of socks? Nope. I kept my four favorite pair, the rest went.

After that I did “30 in 30”. On the first, I got rid of one thing. Perhaps a pencil or a pen. On day two I got rid of two things. And so on. It got pretty difficult after the 20th. But I finished the month.

The next thing I did was pack up like I was moving. By this time, I’m traveling and living in each location for 3-6 months. I packed like I was moving. I didn’t realize how much crap I brought with me! I packed everything. And I took out what I needed. After 30 days if I didn’t wear it, use it, or need it. It got donated. I have to be honest and say that parting with some items was difficult. But not impossible.

Now what is the purpose in this. I will tell you. I learned that there is an ocean of difference between “want” and “need”. I don’t need eight coffee cups. I don’t need twelve pair of jeans. I don’t need fourteen boxes of stationary and forty pens. My life has been recreated to have what I need. And every item I have I love. Everything. Down to my coffee cup. My shoes. Every outfit. My limited make up collection that I actually USE. For me? I feel free.

I buy what I need at the store. I use what I have. I don’t have “fluff”. And so what has this done for me?

No debt.

Lots of money at the end of the month instead of too much month at the end of the money.

Ability to help my kids, with life, with extras, with whatever.

I can travel. To those far away places, enjoy every moment. As Im not spending time figuring out budgets and payments and cleaning dishes and putting stuff away etc etc. I am going to be able to take my daughter to Greece for two weeks in December. Who would have thoughts a single mom could travel like that?

I have more time for me. That down time. That Me time. It’s always there. Because I’m not spending my time with clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. It has shrunk down to a crazy busy chaotic existence to a place of peace where I have time to choose. To invest. To spend the way my heart desires to.

I have learned that living with less is more. I realize this isn’t for everyone. But I’m so thankful for that day when my son mentioned some random documentary that I watched. And watched it again. It truly changed my life.

Im not a perfect Minimalist. There is no recipe or right or wrong way. It is simply a different way to think. To live. To use. And to step away a little bit from consumerism and its hold on most of us.  It definitely is a process. But my journey is well on its way. I am planning on getting a Tiny House built. As I won’t need more than that and it will be perfect for my simple life, All I need is a place to write! When I travel I don’t buy a ton of trinkets but one postcard from every city I travel to. It will serve as great wallpaper for one of my walls in my tiny home. Call it a goal.

Highly recommend watching this. Netflix. They have books out as well. Worth the read for certain.

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No, I’m not crazy. Well……not that crazy! I have adopted a different way to live, and it is a beautiful thing. I hope you have been able to grab a pearl somewhere within this blog to save for yourself.

Until the next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

Paradigm Shift

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world.

This blog post will be a little different. No photos, or trips, or any of the other random things I post about.

Let me tell you a story.

A man climbed onto the train to finally go home after a completely exhausting and discouraging work day.  He slumped onto an empty seat on a primarily empty train. He didn’t realize he was heading home so late, Good God the wife won’t be happy, as he never called to let her know. He settled in, as settled in as you could get on a train, and anticipated the hour commute home. He had no thankful bone in his body. He grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket only to see he had 4% battery left. Perfect. He tucked it into his worn and weathered briefcase, next to the four packages of sweets he reluctantly bought from one of his colleagues, which he internally was NOT happy about. Who does that? Sells useless crap at work that you feel obligated to buy as you don’t want to be THAT one. He could have spent that money on a hundred different things. He looked out the window, as the sky darkened and it started to pour. Can this day get any worse? Leave a job where you are unappreciated, with a briefcase full of sugar that he never even wanted, to a cold dinner and an angry wife in the pouring rain.

The train stopped and he was startled by loud singing, and not even GOOD singing, at loud and awkward laughter and the train doors opened. They opened to let four little children run SCREAMING onto this train. His train. His empty train car that he had to himself to wallow in his well deserved self-pity. The children seated themselves in random seats, not even together. They were disheveled and unkempt, almost dirty. They could all use a good scrubbing! The youngest little girl had matted hair in the back and he wasn’t altogether sure it wasn’t gum!  And a very tired stranger. sat down in the seats opposite of the man. The children were throwing things and singing that damn song! They would screech out words and then at the loudest and highest parts, they would all be quiet for eight, nine, ten beats and then continue on. The noise to his aching Brain was almost intolerable. They repeated the song over and over. How could this tired looking  stranger allow his children to behave in this ill manner? Wasn’t he going to say something? The man shifted in his seat and made an obviously disgusted groan that got the tired strangers attention.

The tired stranger leaned in and quietly said,

“Excuse me sir, I apologize for my children, and the noise. I’m sure you didn’t expect this on your trip.” You bet I most certainly did not, the man thought in his head and felt he was about to pop off and give this gent a piece of his mind. Seriously! He had a horrible day and just wanted a quiet commute home! Was that too much to ask? But the stranger continued.

“You see, their mother has been very ill. We have been at the hospital for five straight days, and she passed away this evening. The last thing my wife said to them is “Never forget to play. Never forget to sing. Never forget to sing our song. I will always be singing my part right along with you, even if you can’t hear me, I will be singing”

“So you see. They are just doing what their mother asked. A little loud I realize, but they are doing the best they can.”

The man almost choked on the tears that he felt streaming down his face. He looked down feeling very selfish. He slowly looked up at the children. They looked different. now. They looked tired. They looked sad. They sang that song, and they let their mother sing her part. They were coping, and doing the best they could in a situation they did not understand. The song was no longer loud and irritating. Instead it sounded like grief.

His stop came. He reached down in his brief case and handed the man the four packages of sweets that not only an hour ago were another reason to wallow in self-pity. The children all thanked him for the sweets as he went toward the door of the train. Before he left the little girl, with the gum in her hair, hugged his leg, and smiled faintly.

He was  never so glad to have bought sweets in his life. He looked forward to a cold dinner. The rain felt cool and cleansing now. He would hug his wife and say he was sorry and be so very thankful she would be waiting there in their little house on the corner. Oh so very thankful.

Paradigm Shift.  A fundamental change in underlying assumptions. Walking a mile in another’s shoes. Viewing from the other side of the line. A new view.

It can change everything.  So before you believe you have it all figured out. Before you judge a situation, an event, a person, I hope you will remember this story. Remember how in a split second, the whole understanding can be changed, altered, improved.

We ALL have a story.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

My Undying Fascination with Trees

Greetings! And thank you for spending some of your moments here with me in my little corner of the world. Seriously, thank you!

My fascination with trees. Not sure where it started, but I do remember being on Bourne Park, in Ipswich Suffolk, and there was this one tree. I remember even as a little girl, I would have to touch it. Once on the way in, once on the way out. I have always been attracted to trees. They are majestic, living creatures. I have always wondered the stories they save. Everything about trees is fascinating to me.

So this is my blog post on the random subject of trees. I always photograph them (along with other random subjects such as keyholes, locks, doors, bridges and gates…….) All photos on this blog are mine. Some I can’t even remember where I took them but as memories creep in, I will post what I can recall. Each grouping of photos is preceded by a quote, another one of my random collections.

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” (Warren Buffett)

Photo on left is my dad, on one of his and mums summer adventures. The one on rat right is my son Joe, on his hammock somewhere near Flagstaff Az.

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. “(Robert H. Schuller)

This is one of my favorite photos, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. It was in Yellowstone Park, one of the seasons first snows.

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“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves not the breeze of a morning the flutters the leaves, but is own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

All these were taken at Sequoia National Park in Western California. I went twice in six months as I found it surreal.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.”  (Albert Einstein)

(Left to right) Hwy 20 from Ukiah to The Coast in Northern California, next is same, sidewalk near Budapest, Hungary. The bottom two is some random drive on the California Coast.

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” (Chad Sugg)

Left is in Charleston, SC. The right is on the Cali/Oregon coastal walk.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now, “(Chinese Proverb)

Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Some forest I found. Sequoia, Sequoia and this was the tree I was talking about (bottom right) is in Bourne Park, in Ipswich

Random post I realize. Who writes an entire blog post about trees? I guess I do. Hope you got a smile or some small pearl you can take with you on your journey.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

The South – Birthdays – Breakdowns – Beauty – Food and a Broken Arm

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. As always, I thank you for stopping by and sharing some time with me, it is truly appreciated. 

The South. I have never but driven through and it is one area of the US I would love to fully explore. My sister did her “Time Share Magic” as we have been trying to spend our birthday week together every year. Life gets hectic and we have purposed to spend this week together no matter what. I told her I didn’t care where we ended up, I can literally go anywhere for the first time and make it an adventure. She found an availability at Hilton Head, South Carolina and we decided to go to check out the Island, Charleston and Savannah Georgia. Mum *the little British gnome* was invited as well, so there you go. Girls trip!

Hilton Head

Our place was lovely, nice and big and water right outside the window. The island was easy to get around, very pretty and lo and behold, a couple we met last year on our Budapest trip lived there! So our stay included a quilting bizarre and a home cooked shrimp boil….southern style. We went to the water (pretty nippy that day but lovely!

We were there for a week, and I am not kidding when I say we had seafood literally every single day, combined with jambalaya. (Did I spell that right?) The food there was to die for and we could not get enough of it. Tried it all, then tried some more.

Exploring the Cities

I found the cities, especially the architecture to be fascinating. There was old mixed with new. The preservation was really exceptional. We took a trolley tour through Charleston and loved every minute of it.

Walking Through History – and a Major American Scar

This next part was very difficult for me. I am an empath, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with that, I will be posting about that soon along with the many challenges that come with. I tend to be drawn to historical sites, and walking in the footsteps of those who walked before me sometimes can be very emotional. Sometimes disturbing. Sometimes both. This one was both.

We visited a plantation. Now the antebellum south is extraordinary. It is truly “the south”. It is beautiful with trees that are etched with time and memory. The history of this place was in the breeze that would catch me off guard and stop me dead in my tracks. I broke out in silent tears, many times, not understanding why. I can only imagine that I stood in the same place as a child back in the day, or the same area that something inexcusable took place. I was surrounded by breathtaking beauty. It was everywhere. But my heart felt like a piece of lead in my chest. And I had a huge lump in my throat. I spent a good deal of time shaking. I got nauseated. Very. It was something out of my control. I stood in a few places where the feeling was so overwhelming, that I couldn’t move. I was thankful that I was separated from mum and sis. I’m not sure they would understand. This happens to me a lot.

The beauty in the place was obvious. You could smell the “old money” in this place. The mansion, was exactly that; a mansion. The entry road getting to the mansion was very long, and tall trees stood proudly, or perhaps sadly, I’m not sure which. I am sure those trees have stories to tell. They lined both sides of this road. I can only imagine the thousands of feet that walked on this road. The horses, the armies, the fancy carriages. The stuff you see in those movies. But this wasn’t a film set. This was real. Real shit happened here. A lot of it.

img_1148And the mansion stood proudly, perhaps arrogantly,  at the end of this long and very dramatic entry road. The photos don’t do it justice. It was large, ornate, preserved well, but definitely smelled of old southern money.

The grounds were gorgeous. The miles of green. The interesting footprints of history sprinkled throughout the endless walkways and stops along this wonderful property.

But with every positive, there is an equalizing negative. There is a forward and a backward. There is a winter to every summer. A north for every south. An ounce of love for every ounce of hate. And what I experienced next, truly shook me to the core. I get emotional again, trying to create this post and trying to do the next piece of this story justice. I fear that no matter how pure my intentions are, no matter what words I choose, it just won’t be enough.

It is one thing to read about slavery. We read books. We read blogs. We see marches. We see injustices. We listen and we learn, I hope anyway, that we learn. I have read many novels about that time. About this place. Being a white woman, it is impossible for me to understand. Impossible. I remember standing in the crowd eager to walk through this mansion. The original furnishings were inside. It defied reality. And reason. And I remember feeling physically ill over it, knowing what was outside just a few hundred yards away. It was hot and I felt ill. It felt smothering. Beautiful, yes. But I felt like I was being suffocated. Get me some air!!! I lasted one room, didn’t even get upstairs and had to get out. I just couldn’t breathe. My mind was filled with visions of fancy balls, and gorgeous dresses with hoops and food and drink for days. But my mind kept being pulled to the area a few hundred yards away.

I knew I had to go. I knew I had to see. I knew I had to walk through those doorways and FEEL the anguish and fear. The confusion and pain. But also the incredible sense of unity, of family, and of faith. All in the slave quarters.

The Slave Quarters

There is no way with my mere and lame verbiage, that I can do this experience the justice it deserves. I can only describe what I saw. What I felt. And how it affected me. That is all I can do.

The slave quarters were heart wrenching. Simple. Preserved. Disturbing. But real. I took my time. I walked up makeshift steps and crooked wooden doorways. I stood in the middle of one roomed “homes”. My eyes traveled slowly across the floors. Over the walls. I sat in the chairs. I looked at every little detail. Every one. And I walked through every single one. My fingers ran across the bricks. I felt the ghosts. They lingered in the air. Hung there like the heavy feeling you have in your head after a good cry.

I spent a lot of time here. Alone. I was separated from mum and sister. I cannot fully describe the cold and almost painful chill that repeatedly crawled up my spine. Simple is an understatement. It was bare minimal survival. I sat on one of the beds for what seemed like forever. I pictured too many people in this small cramped space. I imagined being thankful for something hot to eat, made in a big iron pot on an open fireplace. I imagined too many bodies cuddled on this rock hard bed I sat on covered by a blanket of some kind. I thought of winters where the bitter cold must have traveled through the ill-fitting wooden door. I thought of how safe this oddly comforting room probably felt to those that lived here. Perhaps died here. Bore babies here. Raised children here. It was safe in here. But not outside that door.

And a few hundred yards away. The endless food, and drink, and fancy ballroom dresses with hoops.

Warm tears, and lots of them, rolled down these cheeks of mine. I am not sure why I felt pangs of guilt. I have never been one to see color. I have always looked at heart. And character. So, this whole experience clashed with that. Just clashed. Like a ten car  pile up on the freeway.

I will not ever forget that day. Ever.

The Random South

Plenty of “random” in the south……with accents……..

Honesty and a Total Breakdown

I am not one to hide behind a curtain, and not every trip is rainbows and unicorns. It was my birthday and I just simply broke. Broke. Into a million pieces. I believe it was because of a few major life events over the past year and I just broke. Spent two days in bed. Felt hopeless. Cried two oceans worth. Didn’t eat. I worried my sister and mum so very much and for that I am very sorry. I got through it. Worked hard when I got home, and am happy to say I’m good. I did salvage the rest of the week. I guess life happens. Life happened.

And a Broken Arm.

I wish I had a great story for you. But I didn’t jump in front of the car to save the child. I didn’t save a kitten from a tree. And I didn’t slip on some amazing hike.

img_1229-1I tripped on a carpet. Yeah……that happened.

All in all, it was a great trip. Loved it for the most part. Learned a lot. Brought a few memories I will tuck away in my back pocket and keep forever. Our girls trip. We learned a lot about each other, some good, some bad, but all real. The bottom line here is family. You either are born with a good one, or you create your own, but it’s family.

FAMILY

And after just one week. The food, the quilting bizarre (me? at a quilting bizarre? Who would have thought that?) the coast, trolleys, a broken arm and a major emotional collapse, feeling ill at being white in a southern mansion, and spending quality time with the ghosts of my brothers and sisters of the past, we came home to this.

img_1242-1Daughter, dad, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, family friend, from 3 different cities, and we landed after 9pm, with signs and flowers and hugs all around.

Now THAT is what I call blessed!

Hope you enjoyed my post on the South. I didn’t expect it to be more than a week without work in a nice place, but came away a better person. And for that? I am truly thankful.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

Feeling a Change in the Wind

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world.

Blog direction. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have seriously struggled with this. I started this blog back in 2014. It was truly hit and miss. I knew I loved photography, travel, impromptu road trips and writing. So that is where I started. It was mainly for my family and friends, had a few that read it, and I wasn’t consistent at all.

Fast forward a couple years.

I started my first book, again a little hit and miss. Much going on with my family and career and the blog wasn’t a priority. I did become more active on Twitter and found many Indie authors and I kind of “went to school” as I had no earthly clue what I was doing writing a book! I just knew I loved writing.

Fast forward again.

Now I am active on Twitter daily and committed to that end. I have also committed to my blog, as I love writing more than just about anything. I have re-energiazed my book and am focused on that again. I feel I have “grown up” so to speak and am ready to commit and see it to its completion. I’m thinking first draft should be sometime early next year, It really has become a labor of love, and somewhat of another child of mine.

As for my blog, I’ve heard about choosing a niche. Making it an income. I just know I love to write. I have thought long and hard about a niche. And up to this point, I cannot do that. I love writing, I am writing a book, I am passionate about Mental Health both for professional and personal reasons, I will always love travel, road trips, and my amateur photography, I am a busy healthcare provider with many opinions, and have an opinion, thought, or experience on just about everything.

So I suppose?

My “niche” is just doing me.

So my blog won’t be focused in one area. I had considered making a certain day a certain topic, but trashed that idea as I felt pressure and restraint. I have committed to blogging three times per week (if it doesn’t kill me) and the subjects will be what they are. I am also very passionate about supporting and promoting my fellow bloggers in this wonderful blogging world.

I have always believed that we all must be true to ourselves. And so I have decided my blog will be exactly that.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

Why I Love Arizona

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. I have been asked over the years (by people of course who have never been here) why on EARTH would you love Arizona? Its “just” a desert. I was born and raised in England, I  have lived in New Mexico, Texas, California, North Dakota, Connecticut and have visited and experienced every state in this Union except for a dozen. So? Here are the top reasons why I absolutely love this beautiful state of Arizona and keep finding myself coming back here.

The World’s Greatest Wonder

I have heard some call this “just a big gaping hole in the ground. Well, if you consider a color filled, mile deep, 277 miles long, carved over millions of years by a single stream of River “just a hole”…..

Then you obviously haven’t been here. It takes your breath away.

The Majestic Desert

The desert is a unique environment. It appears rugged at times, but at the same time, very welcoming and beautiful. I think the one main vibe I get from Arizona is the feeling of strength. Of survival. It amazes me how gorgeous the views are and how much can grow here considering…….well…….it is a desert.

Sedona, Arizona – A Living Postcard

This place is…in a word….magical. Everything about it. To the quirky coffee shops to the endless hikes to the jeep excursions to the postcard views. This place really should be on your bucket list. (photo cred to bottom right picture to my son Joe)

The Saguaro Cactus

Arizona is the only place in the WORLD that these proud creatures stand, keeping watch over the land. They can grow to over 40 feet tall and live to over 150 years. It takes at least 75 years to grow one arm. It is illegal to harm these in any way, and they are home to several desert dwellers.

IMG_0427

You Just Can’t Beat Arizona Skies

I think this may be my second most favorite thing about Arizona – the sky. Talk about blue! With sunny days over 325 days out of the year, you can just look up and “Ahhhh”. The Monsoon season (rainy season, in the summer) turns the skies all kinds of purple and the lightening storms are something to behold.

It’s Got A Quirky Side

From Native American historical dwellings, to haunted hospitals, to old western preserved towns, to towns each with its own unique style, personality and flavor. There is something for everyone in this state. It is not only desert……you have forests, mountains and even snow in the north. This is the only state in the union that has every type of land and landscape short of a coastline,

Endless Adventures

If you love weekend road trips, or a grab your sandwich, your keys and go kind of personality (like me) then this is your place. There are so many things to explore. Slot Canyons, the Petrified Forest (yes a forest made of stone), three separate and definitely distinct main cities, professional or college sports of any kind, rivers to tube down, lakes to boat in, mountains to scale, A Grand Canyon to stop and take in, and many places to “find”. Arizona is………endless.

The Best Part of Arizona? FAMILY

The #1 best thing about this state is my family. My brother and parents are here in Tucson, my sister is in the Phoenix area as is my daughter, and the rest of us keep being pulled back here for one reason or another. No matter where I go, or where I end up working for a few months, one thing is for certain…..

I will always end up back here in Arizona!

Thank you so much for visiting today. My blog site will be changing in the next week or so. And here are the. changes:

Sundays will be like this, random trips, adventures and stories. Wednesdays will be lifestyle topics. and I will be starting coverage of Mental Health Issues on Fridays including a 12 week expose with guest bloggers and guests sharing their stories, experiences, and insight. I am hoping to do my part to end some of this stigma and open dialogue. If you are interested in taking part, please feel free to email me at any of the folowing:

Lifeinsuitcase2014@gmail.com or Twitter: @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93