I had to make that statement. When we make our New Year’s Resolutions, we are painting a picture of our future: What we’re going to do, have, learn, improve…
We put our resolutions down into a brand-new planner. We write our goals and the intermediate milestones and our plans to get there. WE HEREBY RESOLVE THAT…this year will be different, better, more profitable, and more fun. Why are these wonderful visions of our better selves abandoned after a couple of months?
Try to find a parking space at the gym in January. Go back in March. Check out the produce aisle in the grocery store in January…very little lettuce, carrots, zucchini, kale, onions… Everyone is going on a salad diet. Oops? Go back in March. Check out the section in the pharmacy for nicotine patches in January, then again in March. This is the time when financial gurus make the most investments other than tax time.
As I said in an earlier post, most of these resolutions are incomplete. They only look good on paper because they are two-dimensional. We focus on the results that we can see. Therein lies the problem. To reach those lofty goals, you have to become someone worthy of those goals. It is not the goal or the path that makes you successful, it is what you become to bring that goal into three dimensions.
So you want to be slimmer? What kind of person do you need to become to bring that into being? What kind of habitual thinking got you into your current shape? Since you wish to be slimmer, some of those thoughts did not serve you well. You need to replace those with some that do. You’re looking at the water stains on the ceiling in your living room. You can paint over those, but you haven’t solved the problem…there’s a leak. Bandaids don’t help broken legs. Putting gas in a car without a working transmission won’t make the car go.
If you focus, instead, on what you need to become to bring about the change you wish to see, things will start to open up for you.
So in Calling Forth your year, you’re not yelling into the void of space to bring you what you want. You’re pulling inspiration, imagination, resources, and determination from within yourself. What kind of person do you need to become to have what you want, to improve your mental and physical health, to allow you to relate better to your family and friends?
My friend says that she has a large breakfast and she means 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1 tsp of chia seeds and a cup of coffee with non-fat creamer.
NAH. This was eggs, taco meat, country potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, onions and peppers in a skillet. Then we went immediately to watch a movie. I HAD to have popcorn and Blue Dew. I wasn’t hungry. That’s just what I have with a movie.
I find myself getting hungry in my car. When I’m off to an appointment or an event or a meeting, I don’t get 2 blocks from my house before my tummy rumbles. I might get a tinge of hunger at home if it’s 11:30 and I haven’t had any breakfast yet. I eat breakfast because that’s what you do in the morning. Just like that’s what you do in the movie theater.
I was on a diet once where you don’t eat unless you’re hungry. No problem, I thought. I had breakfast about 11:30. Then I had a nap…2-3 hours! I got some work done, then I had some leftovers about 6:00, and stayed up until after midnight. I ate when I was hungry and there was no real schedule. My naps got more frequent and longer (!) and I seemed to be more foggy-brained. I started losing things, and words wouldn’t come to me (names, days, the last half of a sentence that seemed like it would have a point 10 seconds earlier.) I became very short-tempered. Oh, and I gained weight!
Then I was on this restrictive diet. It required a very strict regimen. Everything was scheduled. Wake-up time, eating time, a choice of 1 or 2 foods for each meal, exercise time, what exercises I had to do based on the day, and bedtime. I was tired all the time, sore all the time, and hungry all the time. I was also short-tempered, frustrated, and depressed. Oh, and I gained weight.
Now what’s interesting about both those scenarios was that it didn’t matter if I was hungry or not, the foods I was eating were healthy, and the portions were small. For the last 10 years or so, I have been on a 900-1100 calorie per day diet. I should have dropped a ton of weight, and I gained instead. No, I didn’t cheat on my diet, and no, I didn’t lie in my diary.
Now some folks I’m talking to eat when they’re bored, some when they’re emotionally upset, and some when they’re lonely. I eat chocolate because I love chocolate. I eat pizza because I love pizza. I eat asparagus because I love asparagus. There are just a few foods I don’t eat. I like the taste and the texture. I like to experiment when I’m cooking.
I went on a KETO diet in September of 2021, and I dropped 25 pounds by January 2022. Yay Me! But I haven’t dropped any since then. So I rejoined the Keto community and I’m reading all these horror stories about people and why they eat. Some are in serious condition with their diabetes, some are having heart problems and kidney problems, and some would spend their time in their bedroom alone watching soaps and in severe depression.
It occurred to me that maybe what was hungry was not their body, but their emotional self or their soul. How do you feed those?
We were sitting around the table the day after Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house. Dear, Sweet, Pat says, “What are Christmas plans this year?” Crickets
“Well,” said I, “I’m planning to have Christmas Dinner on Christmas day. We’re picking up Ben so he can be with family for the holiday.” Realizing this is a 7-hour drive down, an overnight stay, and a 7-hour drive back up, I’d have to get most of my pre-cook dishes done and stored before we left.
I don’t know how you do your Christmas planning, but I used to start mine in June. I’d get everything ready so on the day of Christmas dinner, all I had to do was thaw, pour, heat and eat. To understand this, you will need to picture a zombie apocalypse shelter filled with canned food (home canned so in jars) a freezer full of side dishes like breads and stuffing, containers of fudge and candy, and a todo list on a spreadsheet with times and instructions. Now Pat is talking about having the family assemble at Grandma and Grandpa’s house…so 13 people in all. OK, I just need to amend the recipes a bit. But when I thought about it, THERE WAS NO WAY I could get it all out of the oven hot at the same time!
So I started delegating guests to bring a side dish. We got Creamed Corn, Sweet Potato Casserole, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Bundt cake. Yum! I only had to do mashed potatoes, string beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin bread, cranberry/orange bread, the gravy*, turkey, and ham. We set the time to gather at 11 AM so we could eat at 12. We weren’t sure my middle boy was going to have to work that night so we needed to be done by about 2 PM.
Best laid plans: (AND THEY WERE GREAT PLANS!)
Do the turkey in the roaster and the ham in the crock pot! All the other heatables could be done on 2 racks in the oven. Problem Solved. Except… The ham didn’t fit into either the crock pot or the roaster. In fact, it didn’t fit into the roasting pan without having to use a foil lid instead of a regular one. It was too tall to add another shelf. Oops.
Then I started the rolls. DO NOT USE BUTTER-FLAVORED CRISCO to make bread. It doesn’t form the gluten very well so it doesn’t rise. (Note to self.) I kneaded that stuff for about 30-35 min and it never got that “roll dough” texture. This is Christmas morning, so to get the turkey into the roaster, the stuffing mixed up, and everything else figured out, I was up at 5 AM. It’s now 9:30 and I’m needing a nap! I form the rolls anyway, and they’re pathetic little teeny things. The kitchen smells marvelous, however!
Kids are supposed to arrive at 11. I’ve got time. Ding Dong…?? 10:30 and they’re here? Well, they certainly didn’t get that from my side of the family.
Oh, and BTW, the corn has to be baked for 30 min at 325. Oh, and BTW, this sweet potato casserole has to bake for 10 min at 325 (No, it’s in a glass dish and it won’t warm up the center that fast). My rolls haven’t baked yet. I’m smiling. I have 2 granddaughters helping me now! Cooking buddies! One is finishing up my gravy. One is cutting up potatoes for the mashed potatoes and I’m washing dishes to get counter space and microwaving the beans. We have the potatoes heating, the sauce is strained, and it’s time to take the ham out.
The ham is heavy
It has 7 cups of liquid in the roaster
I have a bodybuilder for a son
He expertly moves the rack with the ham out and sets the liquid waves in motion. (we can’t see this because it’s in the foil.)
He deftly lifts the pan 4 inches and 1 -2 cups of liquid spill out on the inside of the oven door, but he gets it to the stovetop.
The creamed corn and the sweet potato casserole go in.
My rolls have not risen. They’ve been not rising for over an hour now. My middle boy suggests we air fry them, which, since he has an air fryer, he knows how to do. We get it out of the garage and set it up and do the rolls. They are still pathetic and teeny, but now they are brown.
Wait, why aren’t my potatoes boiling? Oh. The back burner is small and I have a stock pot on it. So we move the stock pot full of water and potatoes to a front burner. They begin to boil in about 10 min. I have one of those paddle-type stand mixers where the paddle moves and the bowl is stationary. I used to have one of those with the beaters and the revolving bowl. When you add potatoes to that, the beaters break up the potatoes and everything stays in the bowl, more or less. I don’t have that mixer anymore. I thought it would have the same effect, though. We pour the potatoes and some of the water into the bowl to mash. Bad idea. Remember the exploding flour when we made gingerbread trees? Exploding potatoes with scalding water makes it a suicide mission to turn the thing off. Now, in the kitchen are my 2 oldest granddaughters, my youngest son, me, and my daughter Pat. “Look out!” and screams of fear bring MORE people into the kitchen. We get it stopped and use a potato masher to cut the potatoes into smaller chunks. There…that ought to do it. Turn it on…YIKES. It didn’t quite work. Now we’re wondering why we thought putting it into a mixer was the shortcut.
We plate the side dishes and put the decorative bowls on a card table. Pat has cut up the pumpkin bread and cranberry/orange bread onto a platter. Hubby and Pat’s husband are carving the turkey and the ham. Plastic dishes and our flatware are put out and people serve themselves buffet-style. Then I realize I haven’t put out glasses for drinks. Youngest retrieves the glasses and we have sparkling grape juice, and I have wine.
I have to write all these things down because I’ve been informed that my memories of past Christmases are totally fictional. But this was, without a doubt, one of the best Christmases ever!
*The gravy is a brown warm sauce from a French cookbook that I got for a Christmas present 40-some years ago, and it must be referred to in italics–it’s that good.
Could you watch the kids so we can go Christmas Shopping? Sure! We could do some Christmas baking! We’ll bring them by about 9:30, and you can bring them home when you’re done. No problem!
OK, kids! Here are the projects. Bread? Cookies? or Fudge? Each of you pick one. Bread and cookies! Fudge!
Um. 1 each. I was choosing for me and her. No, you can only choose for yourself. Well, then, Bread and Cookies. Face/Palm
OK. Choose 1…for yourself only. Cookies. So I show them the cookie book.
This is the cover
This is what you see when you open the book. The inside of the book is upside down to the cover. It is a silly book. I don’t think it was supposed to be.
I figured about 1 hr to make cookies, without frosting or decorating, 1.5 hours to do a Christmas bread, and 1 hour to do 4 batches of fudge. Each grandchild would pick a project so we wouldn’t be doing all 3. So while one grandchild would be decorating the tree, the other would be baking. Then they would switch. 2 hours, lunch, and then home. Best laid plans… O’Toole’s Commentary: Murphy was an optimist.
Among the recipes, there is one for a gingerbread VILLAGE. Yup, 3 houses, 8 trees, a pond, and a wall. The recipe makes a lot of gingerbread, and it calls for 6 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting. I wasn’t anticipating this. Each pan of cookies has to bake for 10 min, and each piece has to be cut by hand to the specs in the design. 6 roof pieces, 4 steeple pieces, 6 side walls, 6 front and back walls, 8 full trees and 16 half trees, and 3 round bases for the houses. This is what O wanted to make. He insisted. Y decided to make fudge.
The cookie recipe wasn’t clear on how things were to be done, so we put the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. I had the mixer plugged into a power strip, and had the power strip off. Oldest was putting things in and measuring and doing a pretty good job. Youngest then chose to abandon the tree and Grandpa and get in the way. I’m trying to get her back into the living room and told O to wait until I could help before he turned on the mixer. He said, “No problem” and then turned it on anyway. The power strip was off, so the mixer didn’t turn on. MEANWHILE, Y is still in the kitchen and whining that she wants to help. Suddenly the mixer goes on, FULL BLAST HIGH SPEED. O had found the power strip on-switch, and Poof! Flour explodes all over the kitchen. Now we’re sliding all over the kitchen on the flour. Y finally goes to the living room.
Now we cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and ginger using the hand mixer in a much smaller bowl. We’ve already doubled the number of utensils it usually takes to make cookies. Then the book says to slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mixture. Yes. Of course. Put the 5 cups of flour and spices (well what’s left of the 5 cups after the explosion) to the small bowl where we mixed 1 cup of butter and a cup of sugar and a cup of molasses. The hand mixer cannot withstand that kind of resistance, so now we have to put the stuff in the small bowl into the large bowl. The mixture ends up crumbly. It doesn’t want to hold together. Now we have to roll it? O goes outside to play. Y follows him out. Grandma goes in to have a nervous breakdown in the living room with Grandpa.
O had insisted that we make the whole village and I have found myself alone in the kitchen. Oh no. So O and Y come back in and wonder why I’m not working on the cookies. “Me? It’s your project! Now we COULD roll them out and cut them into teddy bears…”
“NO! Why make gingerbread if you’re not going to make houses?” “So how would you like to proceed?” Y volunteers to roll out the crumbs and see if she can make them stick together. She does pretty well!!! We cut out the trees and the round bases. Then we cut out 3 teddy bears. Baked those and by now it’s 12:15.
Let’s go to Wendy’s! Wendy’s is locked. Um. Let’s go to Runza! We have a nice, civilized lunch and discuss volcanoes and compare Crater Lake to Mt. St. Helen’s. Then we discuss the volcano under Yellowstone Park. Grandpa starts driving toward Omaha. Wait! We haven’t made the fudge yet and we have to put together the gingerbread! Oh. oops. We head back home to finish the ordeal…um, the baking.
It takes about 5 min to make 1 batch of fudge so we make 1 batch and then start the frosting. While I’m making the frosting, the fudge sits in the fridge.
I can’t find my cookie press or my decorating kit. I find a ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner, fill it with frosting, and split the seam. Argh. Grandpa finds the cookie press and decorating kit. YAY! We put together the trees and stick a teddy bear in the forest. It would not win any prizes.
Now it is after 2. It’s been about 4.5 hours with the grandchildren. I am out of shape. I cut the fudge and put it into a cookie tin. It is still mostly liquid. The kids really want to go home, so we get them all loaded up. We are informed by Y that we need to not hit any bumps because the teddy bears keep falling down.
Ya, This is Omaha. If we swerve to avoid the potholes, we’ll get pulled over for drunk driving.
We get them home about 3:00 and return to our home a little before 4. Grandma takes a 2-hour nap. It looks like a giant troll sneezed in a bakery. I love making candy, cookies, and quick breads… but my keto diet does not allow for any of those. Soooo, Sigh. I guess I’m done baking for the Christmas season. 😦 Ain’t Christmastime Grand. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“It doesn’t matter how sure you are that this is a winning ticket, the ticket doesn’t care,” he says. Why not? You put emotional effort into picking the right numbers! You’re sure these are the magic numbers that will get you those millions of dollars. You do research to figure out the numbers that come up the most in winning tickets, where they’re purchased, how big a batch of tickets to buy… You’ve expended mental effort and physical effort to get the numbers just right. Then some random number generator picks the numbers.
I used to play a lot of MMORPG on the computer. I tend to go with the city-building types but after you build your city, you get attacked by 1 million scouts who take out your archers, and the lookouts on the walls never see 1 million scouts coming over the horizon…
ANYWAY, if you built the required materials and did all the right things in the right order, you would get “drops” of needed materials based on a random number generator. They would post the odds of you getting said item. Now, being a student of statistics, you would assume that if you had a 1 in 2 chance, after 100 tries you’d have basically 50 positive and 50 negative results. If you have a 1 in 20 chance, Out of 100 tries, you’d have about 5 positive and 95 negative results. In this game, however, if you had a 1 in 20 chance, out of 10,000,000,000,000,000 tries, you’d have 0 positive results. Don’t ask me how I know this… So why was this? Were they lying? If you look at it from a different perspective, you had a 19/20 chance of getting a negative result, so that’s what you got 100% of the time.
The odds of getting all the numbers in the lottery are much smaller than that. You’re more likely to get bitten by a shark in the middle of Kansas than win the lottery. Why? Because your actions have very little to do with the outcome.
Seth mentions that there’s a 15-year-old boy whose 10-year plan is to get into the NBA. He also says that the strength and skill needed to get down to the last 5000 applicants is important, but after that, it’s just a lottery and you better have a plan B. There are physical attributes that would enhance your chances like being 6’8 or better, and a 90% from the free-throw line wouldn’t be a bad thing. But what if you’re short?
NBA playing career
In case you were wondering
Obviously, skill and accuracy are important when you’re not 7′ tall. Spud Webb, #3 on the list, also had a 46″ vertical jump!
When you look at the draft, being at the right place at the right time with the right skills and a good agent are good. So what are the right places and the right times and the right skills?
You have to be on a college team that has scouts coming in to check out the players
You have to be good enough to stand out from your fellow players
But you also have to be good enough to enhance the team and not just yourself
You’d also have to spend every waking minute improving your jump height, your strength, your endurance, and your agility with the basketball (shooting, dribbling, passing)
You have to have good enough grades so you don’t flunk out of college before you get noticed.
So for someone who wants to spend the next 10 years preparing for the NBA, there are steps to prepare to be noticed in college, noticed in high school, in basketball camps, and by influential coaches who can help you improve just to get to the platform where you can compete. Can you do this in the lottery? Nope. If, however, you are cursed by bad genes to be short, you may not even get a glance. HOWEVER, this does not preclude you from being a coach in the NBA, an announcer, or a referee.
The difference between the lottery and any goal you have is that with the lottery, you have no control over the outcome. What lotteries do you contend with? Tax audits? the Stock Market? Your health roll against a red dragon in Dungeon and Dragons? If you are smart, you have many alternative plans because the one thing you do NOT have control over is the subjective opinions of those scouts. Just like you have no control over the administrators that are looking to hire you as a teacher, or the HRs that think some people should be relegated to grabbing coffee for the real businessmen in the room. Doesn’t your whole livelihood depend on the subjective behavior of the people you work for or those you serve as an entrepreneur? All the world’s a Lottery and men and women but ticket scratchers. (Sorry Will) But make your plans and set your goals anyway, just don’t get attached to a particular outcome. It’s not the goal that makes the man, but the journey–It’s what you need to become to be worthy of it.
So you buy a ticket in August for a trip in October, and they cannot guarantee there will be a bus trip. Yes, I got my money back, but no, that doesn’t solve my problem.
My youngest son is getting married and now 2 of his 4 brothers and sisters cannot make it to the wedding.
“We have a bus service that can take you anywhere in the US…when it’s convenient, or if nothing goes wrong, or whatever… We don’t even have to tell you ahead of time that the bus will not be running or why. Don’t like it? Try and do it cheaper any other way. HA!”
I went back to the gym today. It’s the first time since Covid in March of 2020. I may be sorry.
I had to establish a baseline for my initial exercises. I was supposed to do a gradual increase to see which weights I could lift easily until I got to one where it was really taxing.
I’m doing lat rows from bent over position on a bench and got to 5# each arm, then, since that was easy I thought I’d go to 15#. Someone had stolen all the 15# weights in the whole gym! Got to 20# though for 20 repetitions. 1st time in the gym for 3 years (since March of 2020).
Then I’m doing max weights today for bench press, and I got to 65# for 5 reps.
Then I did chair squats. Stand up, then take 10 seconds to sit.
Wt 202. (includes shoes and workout clothes, so no I didn’t strip.) Oh and I weighed at home because Someone stole the scales. Unbelievable!
We kidnapped the grandkids today and went to the zoo. K had his water, G had her water, M and I didn’t. Oops!
We decided (meaning I decided and M shrugged and agreed) that the kids would design our visit. We got 2 maps and made plans. K, who’s a tweenager, is very focused on the distances, the heat, the ability of the grandparents to transit the walking looks and decides to go to the Desert Dome, but since little G doesn’t like the smell, we go only to the Kingdom of the Night and see the bats, the beavers, the snakes, and the alligators (including a white one!) G is upset because K ALWAYS gets to choose. She wants to see the Aquarium 1st and is mad because K chose the closest building. We tell her that we ARE going to the Aquarium, but just not first. K gets to choose because he’s the oldest, and she gets to choose where we go next. So she chooses the Aquarium and then whines because it isn’t first. I tell her that it doesn’t matter whether it’s first as long as we see it. She sulks. She’s 3rd grade.
We knew we wanted to go on the train and the carousel, but we needed tickets. The ticket booth was right next to the Skyfari, so we slipped that in between the aquarium and the carousel. Waaaaa! You said we were going to the carousel next. Oh, the unlimited energy of children! K said, “We have to remember distances because these guys are our Dad’s parents!” G sniffs. So we take the Skyfari up and over the rhinos and the sable antelope and though we didn’t see the cheetahs, we saw the enormous sundial, the brass rhino and elephant, and the lions sleeping on the rocks. The kids got to “fly” the helicopter, and we went to the lion compound but couldn’t see the lions from the ground. We rode the Skyfari. Unintended consequences: I have put both legs to sleep and my feet are cramping! It made getting off the gondola tricky! After maneuvering off the dread machine, we then headed for the carousel. It was a longer trek than M or I had anticipated!
K and G went on the carousel, then we went and picked up the train. We rode in the caboose! The kids wanted to be as far away from the whistle as possible. K can differentiate the trains by their whistles! What kid his age does that? I’m impressed! The whining has begun. I perceive that K is flexible and looks for opportunities. But he also seems to be checking objectives off and more interested in getting to the locations than enjoying what they see there. Hurry UP, Grandma! G tends to fixate on the plan and gets upset when it changes. This is interesting.
We finished the train ride at Glacier Bay…92 degrees, no glaciers, no snow, no mountains. I was shocked! By this time, M and I are dehydrated. K, G, and I go to the closed restaurant and sit in the shade while M looks for the tram to take us up to the gate. Whining ensues. “We wanna go to the gift shop!!!!” “Maybe…” We wait for about 15 min. We think this is where G lost her water bottle. The tram comes and we all get on and head uuuuuuup the hill to the Lied Jungle. We decided to eat there because it’s air-conditioned, darker, and you can watch the monkeys while you eat. They make a KILLING on food! OMG! $5.25 for a hot dog? This isn’t the meal, that’s just the hot dog. The fries are $5.25, the mac and cheese is $5.25, the fruit is $5.00 ($5.00 for an apple!), the fruit cups M and I had were $7.25 because they had to cut up the fruit and add 1 Tbs of yogurt. K’s commemorative cup of water was $9.50. So, lunch for 2 kids and 2 grandparents was nearly $100. That’s nuts. I could get a steak dinner for everyone for less than that! Kids are not whining. G finally finishes her hot dog. We’re cooled down and head out, but not to the gift shop. Awwww. Well, I asked when they were coming back and if they could wait until then to get their gifts. They reluctantly agreed. We then trekked up to the car.
K and G are saying “Best Day Ever!!!” Warms a grandparent’s heart. M and I are exhausted and dehydrated, even after our $5/$7 drinks. We have racked up 7,500 steps. But, we’re having to drink about 1 gal of water. I have severe cramps in the bottoms and TOPS of my feet, my calves, my hands? and my leg is complaining. I take a 2-hour nap, punctuated by cramping.
The trip started out like most…The bus will drop you off here and you can wander about until 2:30 when the bus will pick you up at this exact spot. Shop, eat, and enjoy the Ambiance that is Edinburgh. I was on a mission. I needed to get some English Currency. I was told the best exchange rate was at the Post Office, and due to the Queen’s Jubilee, everyone else in the country had the same thought. 2 of the places we’d stopped on the tour were several miles’ walk from our hotel or any of the city tours we went on so when we got to a post office that was close enough, Pitlochry, there was a 45-minute wait to get INTO the building. We ran out of time. Now was my chance. The Exchange was a mere 3 blocks from where the bus dropped me off!
I headed from the St. Andrews and St. George Church on George Street down to Sir Walter Scott’s memorial on Princes Street.
Then I went to the Mall and changed my money. From there, I went back up the hill to the bus collection point. It was 1:30. The bus was going to pick us up at 2:30. I wanted to sit down, but the beggar was not pleased that I was encroaching on her territory. I had no interest in wandering around the shops and I wasn’t hungry, so I sat. I got a wifi connection and thought, “Hmmm, I could locate the hotel and see if I could walk from here rather than waiting an hour.” Sure enough, the hotel was just a 20-minute walk from my location! I checked out my location and looked on my map, and noticed my battery was nearly in the red. I decided to go to my next turn before I turned on my phone again.
I walked back to Scott’s Memorial and headed in the direction my map told me to go. I could see the castle from the street, so I kept that on my left and headed out. There was a wonderful park, and it wasn’t long before I heard band music. The Royal Marines were putting on a concert in the bandstand. They were playing a medley of John Williams tunes. I got to an intersection and found a bench. It had been 15 min, so I had to be close. I looked at my map and discovered I was on the right trail, but I was firmly in the red now. I headed up across the bridge.
I passed the Hanging Bat and the Raging Bull, but somehow that didn’t spark any inspiration to eat. You may not know this, but Edinburgh was one of the first planned cities…set out on a grid. News flash. Weird looking grid. So I come to an intersection of 4 streets…(grid?) Lauriston Pl, West Toll Cross, Home Street, Lothian Road (A7?). Normally, there would be 2: Lothian Road, and one other, but no…Lauriston Pl turns INTO West Toll Cross, Home Street goes approximately 60 degrees south of Lothian Road. Uh Oh.
I stayed on Lothian Road. My phone is officially dead. It is now after 2:00. I should be in sight of the hotel. I am not. I walk further on Lothian road and now nothing looks familiar. I stop at a food truck and ask for directions. Lady gets out her phone. She lives in this neighborhood, but has never heard of my hotel? Then I hear the fateful words that will get repeated to me throughout the rest of my tale: “OK, just go this way for about a mile and a half…” and they point to the way I just came.
I smiled and asked if I could take her phone with me. I had to explain that I was kidding. Oh…Kay… I began thinking if she was pointing me back to where I had just come, wouldn’t I have seen this place on my way here? I headed back down the hill then I recalled that on her phone map, there was the Novotel. We had passed it twice since we got to Edinburgh, so I knew it was a crucial landmark and headed for that.
I FOUND Novotel and walked into the pub attached to the building. I asked the bartender where the Leonardo Royal was and guess what he said… That’s right. He pointed back to where I’d just come and said it was a 13-minute walk according to his phone. Or, I could take the #2 bus. Oh? Where was the bus stop? He said it was down at the bottom of the hill to the left. It was now 2:30. He said they come about every 15 minutes. What he didn’t tell me was that the bus goes 2 directions and they only take exact change. I had a 20-pound note and I wasn’t going to pay 20 pounds for a 1.06-pound fare.
I headed down to the bus stop Where there was a couple from Arkansas also waiting. She had a phone with GPS. “OH! No Problem! Y’all jist go down the hill there and catch Bread Street? Then ya jist turn onto Morrison Street and then to Morrison link.” Now she’s saying that as if she’d lived in, um, Southern Edinburgh…because of her accent. Then she pointed me in the wrong direction. If I could have looked at her phone, I would have been able to tell she had it oriented wrong. I’m good at reading maps. So I headed down the street in the wrong direction. Nothing looked familiar. I stopped at a clothing shop and asked the lady at the desk who had a phone.
This is what I don’t understand. I have lived in my current house for 22 years. I have no idea what my neighbors’ names are, but I know where 2 hospitals, 3 emergency rooms, 4 grocery stores, and at least 15 restaurants are near my neighborhood. I worked 1 year at the Hardee’s on the interstate and could tell you where all the hotels in the area were, and where to get your car fixed and your prescriptions filled. I worked 6 years at the financial office and could tell you every restaurant in a 6-block radius, the music store, the clothing stores, the bus stops, and where to get the best ice cream. The people that I asked were NATIVES of the city, and had lived most of their lives there, and yet not a single person had any idea where the hotel district was (and there were 8 hotels in a 2-block area. You’d think that would stand out!) and had never heard of the Leonardo.
So the nice lady points me back to where I came…It’s a 20-min walk. Now I’ve been on this 20-minute walk for over 1 1/2 hours. It’s getting close to 3:15. I head back up to the Novotel and on the way, I see my Arkansas friends. I told them that I never found Bread street. Oh well. This time I walk East of the Novotel and enjoy the sights. Because…nothing looks familiar. It is now 3:30. You may ask how I know since my phone/clock/map/internet/paperweight is dead. There are clocks on the schools, clocks on the churches, clocks on the time/temp displays in front of the stores and banks… I have officially missed the bus to the Britannia dinner and tour. My group has no idea where I am, and I can’t call my husband to let him know I’m alright. I’m in some sort of educational area, schools everywhere. They look like ghost towns. So I turn around and head back to the Novotel.
There, in front of the hotel, is a coach with its driver. It is a tour coach. Surely this driver has taken his charges to other hotels in the area. He would know! So I go and ask him. He hasn’t a clue. By now, I have discovered there are TWO Leonardo Royal hotels. One is old and picturesque, and one is new. Every time I asked for directions, they tried to send me to the old one which I passed several times before I saw that it WAS a Leonardo Hotel. I probably could have walked in and explained my situation to them and they might have been able to get me to the right one.
The picturesque Leonardo was TWO blocks from the Novotel, and the guy who had sent me to the bus stop had no idea it was there. The new one was about 6 blocks from the hotel and he had no idea THAT one was there. The Coach driver had never delivered tourists to either one. He suggested I take a taxi. “Where am I going to get a taxi?!!!” (Frustrated much?) And while I’m speaking, one pulls up and drops off some tourists. The Coach driver talks to the taxi driver and tells him I need to go to the Leonardo in the Haymarket district. Much to my surprise, he enters into HIS GPS. Oh! it’s not far. It’s now 4:15
He easily finds the place, and due to the fact that every one-way street is going the wrong way, we have to go a longer route than I would have had I walked. I get to the hotel about 4:30 and wait 5 min in line to talk to the concierge. I tell him I’ve become separated from my group and could he call the tour guide to let him know I am alive and well and going to soak in my tub? He was aghast. “They left over an hour ago!!” “I know.” He has the wrong tour group on his “current” list and cannot call him. I get to my room and plug in my phone.
For the 1st time on this tour, I have handicapped facilities, and I COULD take a nice soak in the tub…if it had a drain plug. So, at 4:45, I Facebook messaged my friend Jeremy to let my husband and the tour guide know I was safe and sound. Then I changed into my PJs and went to bed. Even though my paperweight was dead, it kept counting steps…12,000 steps. The most I had walked before this was the 10K steps in Heathrow Airport before my flight home the first week in April. My normal is usually less than 1000.
It appears that on every trip I take, I have to have some alone time…so I get lost? No more shortcuts for me!
Wait! You can’t get it at the department store? I’m disillusioned!
How do we define “talent” and when is that term used?
Definition of talent
1a: a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude
b: general intelligence or mental power: ABILITY
2: the natural endowments of a person
5: (archaic) a characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal
Thank you Merriam Webster.
When you watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar, you will hear him described as extremely talented. When you look at Michaelangelo’s work, you will gasp at his grasp of the human form, an amazing artistic talent. When you ask Einstein anything, you don’t think talent, you think genius. When you watch someone do anything that is beyond the ordinary in the physical world…fine arts, or sports, we call them talented. When you see the results of mental ability beyond the ordinary, we classify it as an expression of genius. They’re the same thing.
Why is that important? I’ve been told that I am a talented musician. I am not in an orchestra or in the opera. I can, however, play Bach’s Prelude in C from the Well-Tempered Clavier in any key you want. But I think many musicians cringe at that term because it seems to discount the amount of work it takes to get to any level of mastery.
I know plenty of musicians in orchestras that cannot play anything without the sheet music. They are technically brilliant, but not exactly talented. Of the 165 musicians that graduated in my class, only 5 could play by ear. Many music teachers won’t work with students that play by ear because the students learn the song by hearing it, and may not hear it the way it is written. So NOT ALL MUSICIANS ARE TALENTED. They put in a lot of work. People tend to equate skill and talent. Do they do that in intellectual fields too?
If someone has multiple degrees in many different fields, are they talented at learning? Or are they geniuses? What are your thoughts? Can a learning process that allows people to acquire knowledge in multiple areas be learned? Does knowledge in one discipline translate to another discipline? People that can make that transition from one subject to another and almost instantly “know” what pertains and what doesn’t are considered intuitive. How much intuition do geniuses display?
So let’s examine intuition. This should be interesting. Picture your brain as an electrical machine.
All your thoughts, insights, memories, and powers of logic work like sparks in your mind. Somehow, your mind is able to retrieve whatever information it needs at the time it needs it. For instance: how does my brain know where all the letters on my keyboard are and tell each finger when and where to push to get the words I want while simultaneously allowing my eyes to see misspellings and mistakes in grammar and my conscious mind to think what the next word is supposed to be? It’s A MIRACLE! It is also simultaneously processing the fact that my husband is typing on his work computer, the mailman is on his way up the hill, and the speed of the wind because it buzzes my siding at 25 mph.
What is intuition then?
a: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference
b: immediate apprehension or cognition
c: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition
That means that presented with a set of circumstances, a person with a high degree of intuition can immediately understand the situation without “apparently” figuring things out. A person with talent in music can figure out the chord progressions, the beat, and the melodic or harmonic notes that can be played as improvisation. A person without talent would have to see the progression, chart out the available notes, compose a solo and learn it by practicing. The talented musician makes use of his intuition to project what is coming up in the accompaniment and adjust his improvisation accordingly.
Someone that gets on the elevator with his boss and who then can give a short synopsis of the project he’s working on without writing it out and reciting it is using his intuition to figure out what the boss needs to be told and in how much detail.
Someone that is sitting on a train and upon going past a train in the opposite direction comes up with a theory of relativity has used his intuitive power to see the connection between time and space.
What is happening is that the connections in the mind from one thing to a completely different thing are bouncing around near the boundary between the conscious and subconscious mind in such a way that there is an instant recognition of the relationships between these things.
How do you increase the size of this opening between conscious and subconscious?
Nope, it’s PLAYING! If you want to learn how to improvise on a musical instrument, you just play and make LOTS of mistakes. You pick up what sounds good and what doesn’t. You find out what your fingers can do, and what they need to rework. You find out how to make what you hear in your head come out of your fingers. You experiment.
You want to learn how to skateboard? You’re going to break a lot of bones.
You want to do perfect diving? You’re going to do lots of belly flops.
You want to write the Great American Novel? You’ll write the Grate American Novel 1st that will make you cringe to read.
You want to be a genius? Read a lot and ask lots of questions! Flunk a lot of tests. You’re probably backing off now. You think that you have to be born a genius. I do not believe you do. If you develop your intuition, expand your awareness, and become facile in the art of interaction between the conscious and subconscious, you get more sparks flying. Originally, the Intelligence Quotient compared your apparent mental age to your actual age. What should a 5-year-old know? What does THIS 5-year-old know? If the 5-year-old knows stuff that 8-year-olds know, then 8/5 x 100 gives you 160 IQ. To maintain that 160 IQ, what would his apparent mental age have to be when he’s 10? 16. What would it have to be if he was 30? 48. What is the difference between what a 48-year-old person and a 30-year-old know? Yeah. Hard to figure that out. They don’t have knowledge standards for every age, do they?
You develop your talent/intuition by playing and having fun. Do Sudoku puzzles. Kick a soccer ball around. Pick up a different instrument. Read some philosphy. Write a poem. Consider the origins of the Universe. Make those sparks Fly!