Work Dreams

Last week I was talking with my friend Terry, and the subject of work dreams came up. Work dreams invade the peace of retirement, dragging the retiree back into the workplace. I awaken exhausted and mildly traumatized following a work dream. My work dreams typically involve my running from task to task never adequately completing one before being pulled-in to inadequately complete the next. These dreams are an exact replica of my work life. Oh yeah, there is usually an element of family languishing from inattention to their needs (sometimes in a piano bench – dreams can be weird).

Terry, a retired teacher, told of her work dreams. She is asked to write a play or song and then to teach what she’s written to the children in her classroom. I believe, and people who taught with Terry have told me, that Terry could teach anyone anything. I sense that Terry taught the children in her classrooms how to learn. That’s the teaching trait that I’ve always admired most. As usual, I digress (one of my superpowers). When Terry told me about her work dreams, I was inspired to write a poem. Terry deserves a much better poet, but here’s the poem:

Terry’s Work Dream
You asked me to write a play.
You asked me to write a song.
I told you "I don’t know how,"
Now I see that I was wrong.

Everyday of my life is a play.
Everyday I’ve shared the lines.
I’ve taught children to love and laugh,
And to persevere through tough times.

Everyday I’ve sung my song.
The melody's meant to be shared.
Join in and sing along.
My song tells how I’ve cared.

In the play that is my life,
I’ve watched characters come and go.
I cry when I say good-bye.
I rejoice when I say hello.

Tears I cry as I write my play
provide notes for my song, and irony
Joy, pain, love and loss
Create my song’s harmony.

Children put on your costumes,
sing your own song.
I’m here to teach you to bravely sing and play.
I’m here to teach you to be strong.

You asked me to write a play.
You asked me to write a song.
I told you "I don’t know how,"
Now I see that I was wrong.

While I may not be blessed with a poet’s pen, I am blessed with amazing, inspiring friends. Thank you! Life is good.

I’m dreaming of and hoping for mountain rain from those clouds.

People Who Love People

I usually start thinking about what I’ll write in my Friday Blog on Tuesday. By Friday I’m usually still thinking about what I’ll write in my Friday Blog. This week is an anomaly. On Wednesday, ideas started popping into my head. I’ve jotted them down, providing myself with a small bank of ideas. I’m not ready to commit to any of them; invoking one of the many privileges of retirement: decreased commitment requirement. I finally decided to go with the idea inspired by this week’s “Song-In-My-Mind.” In all honesty, almost all of my Friday Blogs (almost, but not all) are inspired by that week’s “Song-In-My-Mind.”

This week I’ve been saying the word “beautiful” a lot as I catch sight of the many flowers blooming in my yard. The word “beautiful” opened the door to the song “People” (composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by Bob Merrill and sung by Barbra Streisand in the Broadway play, Funny Girl). It must be a violent process for these songs when they pop into my mind because the lyrics rarely arrive intact. In my mind, the word “need” is with replaced with the word “love” in the lines, “People, People who need people, Are the luckiest people in the world.” Oh yeah, the word “luckiest” is replaced with the word “loveliest.” I find the use of the word “people,” and the words love/loveliest (I take full responsibility for this as it is not what Mr. Merrill wrote) redundant and annoying. Songs-that-pop-into-my-mind have a grand capacity and wide range of emotion invocation. Some songs in my mind invoke irritation, and some invoke peaceful serenity. Some songs even inspire me to sing-along loudly and dance wildly. My children have asked that I refrain from doing the latter in public and/or their presence.

Beautiful flowers got me thinking about beautiful people and the door to the “People” song was flung wide open. As I’ve suggested, I’m not a big fan of this song (or its current place in my mind), but I’m a HUGE fan of beautiful people, and I’m hugely blessed to have (and have had) many, many beautiful people in my life.

I’m hugely blessed to have so many beautiful flowers in my yard. I love their different colors. I love how they bloom at different levels and how their blooms are so diverse. I love how some are best appreciated from up close and others are best appreciated from a distance. I love their uniqueness and individuality. Hey, that’s what I love about people, too; particularly people who love people.

I’m going to go out in the yard and look at beautiful flowers (I might even smell one or two). Life is good.

Yep, that’s Jennie’s She Shed in the background (go back to April 2019 to read all about it).
Blooms on Barrel cactus. Look but do not touch – OUCH!
Flowers are pouring forth.

Ooh and Aah

I’m always a little anxious when I see two vowels at the beginning of a word, particularly when they’re the same vowel. Vowels tend to intimidate me. They can be pretty wishy-washy; unwilling to commit to one sound or another. That kind of flexibility (as well as the flexibility displayed by some circus performers) makes me uncomfortable.

How did I arrive at this uncomfortable place this Friday Blog morning? The answer is simultaneously simple and circuitous: Bohemian Rhapsody. I bought a ukelele last February. I watched Jake Shimabukuro’s online “How To Play Your Ukulele” class last week. Jake Shimabukuro plays Bohemian Rhapsody (WOW) on his ukulele. Bohemian Rhapsody contains the line, “Mama, oooh.”

While I have not yet opened the box that contains my ukulele, the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody have been circling my mind continuously since seeing Jake Shimabukuro play the song on the ukulele. Since the words were there, I thought I would think about them. Particularly, I thought about “oooh.” Those two “o’s” between the initial “o” and the “h” are like the dash between birth date and death date on a headstone. That’s where everything happens. With a little lilt up or down, we can move from happy to sad. We can go from scolding to scolded. We can convey confusion or confidence. There it is, that vowel flexibility that makes me squirm in discomfort. Aah, I know, I’ll listen to Jake Shimabukuro’s “Peace Love Ukulele.” It sooths my anxiety and inspires. The music is amazing and entertaining. The sounds he coaxes from the humble ukulele are beautiful, varied and impressive. This gives me hope for beauty in other unexpected places. Hope, beauty, ooh and aah are full of possibility. Life is good.

Unexpectedly beautiful blooms on my sage plant.

Lemon Balm

For the past year I’ve been studying herbalism. I like herbs. You can eat them and they won’t kill you (but be careful, because there are some plants that look like edible herbs that CAN kill you if eaten). Lots of herbs have amazing properties that sooth and heal. Herbs are nice. My teacher (via Zoom, of course), Dara Saville, is a big proponent of Lemon Balm. It is credited with calming the nerves and easing ruminating thoughts. While planning this year’s backyard planting I chose to focus on medicinal plants and herbs, including Lemon Balm. I drew a very rough diagram of my backyard’s planting areas and noted what I planted where. That was on April 1st. Some things have sprouted (sprouting makes me happy), but some things have not. The Lemon Balm has not. My granddaughter, who loves to give helpful advice told me, “You must have done something wrong.” Maybe, but maybe not. I realized when I sat down to write today’s blog, that God is protecting one of my sources of inspiration: ruminating thoughts.

My thoughts bounce and swirl around in my mind landing where they will. I wipe them up with my hand and with a flick of my wrist, fling them across the page. SPLAT! Because I think in images I have many analogies for my ruminating thought process. It’s like riding a bucking bronco. It’s like a superball in a racketball court. It’s like a leaf in a wind storm. Sometimes I kind of like it, but at other times I don’t. That’s how ruminating thoughts work.

I still wish my Lemon Balm (and Thyme, and a half a dozen other things that I planted, but that haven’t sprouted) would grow. It makes a yummy iced tea, and while I don’t reject that ruminating thoughts can have some merit, they’re pretty annoying at three in the morning.

Today’s quote on my day-at-a-time calendar was, “A good teacher tells you where to look, but not what to see.” It wasn’t credited to anyone. My mind doesn’t tell me where to look, but it tells me to see twenty different things in interpretation of each thing my gaze lands upon. It’s how I’m able to come up with something (granted, not necessarily something worth reading) to write every Friday. I like writing, so this makes me happy. Life is good.

Metal roadrunner peaking out from behind the mint. Lemon Balm is in the mint family. I mistakenly thought it would be happy to grow in my backyard.
Calendula struggling to take hold.
Pretty, but not edible, iris bloom.