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America, the beautiful?

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A creek and stream bed whose natural beauty is marred by trash in Lincoln, RI.

One of the drawbacks to being present and noticing everything around you is that you notice the ugliness as well.

There’s no debate here. We humans are trashing our planet.

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The lovely landscape with trash subtracting from its appeal.

As a homeowner of 17 years, I understand some of the struggle. Not everything can be easily tossed or recycled. Getting rid of certain items can be costly.

But here’s the thing: You bought it in the first place. Its disposal should be part of the acquisition choice.

Why would you toss something out the window as you drive past?

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People fish and swim in this reservoir.

You can’t love your country while consciously doing something that detracts from its beauty.

How much extra effort does it take to empty your ashtray in a trash can at home? Or take your Dunkin Donuts cup into work and throw it out there?

No matter your views on the National Anthem debate, true patriotism – true love of country – means doing your part to keep America beautiful.

For me, that means taking a trash bag on my next walk.

Because I would much rather see my country look like this… natural beauty without the stain of mankind on it.

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Cold water + warm air = mysterious fog

Consider taking a few minutes once or twice a week to clean up your small corner. It takes a village.

Presence, Uncategorized

Be present

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Can you see the forest for the trees?

I know what you’re thinking.

Oh boy *eye roll* another meditating, yogi-wannabe, vegan, soy-slurping, “peace-is-love” advice columnist.

I don’t blame you for thinking that, based on the title.

In all honesty, though, I’m way too ADHD to meditate, I HATED yoga, I love a good burger, and soy gives me gas.

I tried meditation and yoga because, like most Americans, stress was my natural state. There’s so much to worry about: Deadlines, increasing workloads, increasing costs of everything without increasing pay, physical health, mental health, family, pets…and the list goes on.

That’s when I decided to follow the inspirational poster:

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It’s not original by any stretch of the imagination. Yet we can’t quite pull the trigger most of the time.

I pulled the trigger. But I still have times that I’m plagued with doubt. I still find myself distracted at times because I haven’t met all my goals yet.

But then I have moments like this one below (and the one above) that I’m able to capture with my camera because I was paying attention.

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Photo taken by me Saturday, February 10, 2018, on my morning walk in Rhode Island.

And it reminds me to be present so I don’t miss these moments in the future.

 

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My hardest goodbye

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Ahhh, Jimi…how we miss your poetry

Saying goodbye to my favorite fella felt like my heart was being ripped out.

Smitty! Don’t forget me – I’ll see you soon!

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Smitty leaving the house in RI.

What? You didn’t think I was talking about a human, did you?

I bought Smitty (my 2003 Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster) in August 2003. That’s how long we’ve been together.

I experienced my first motorcycle ride when I was 6 or 7. My best friend’s father took me around the block, and I was hooked.

When I was a teenager, I sought motorcyclists to befriend.

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In 1990-ish with then-boyfriend at the Canadian border. We were detained on our way back into the States!

It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that I could get my own motorcycle and stop relying on others to go for a ride.

The biggest obstacle to buying my own motorcycle was my mother. I can’t say I blame her… I’d been in 10 car accidents – one severe enough to land me in the hospital for two weeks.

My brilliant idea: Take Mom motorcycle shopping and have her pick it out.

You may think that was crazy, but my mother had a knack for choosing good vehicles. Plus, she was the best negotiator I’d ever seen firsthand.

So here I was, 32 years old – a homeowner – taking Mom and Dad with me to pick out my motorcycle.

She chose Smitty. I chose his name. She negotiated an unheard-of $4,000 off the asking price.

And, you know what? It worked. Mom doesn’t worry as much about me riding.

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My friend Bonnie in Bluffton, SC, letting me know Smitty arrived safely!

When I’m sad, stressed, or generally feeling unsettled, Smitty and I hit the road. No one has ever made me feel as good. His magical healing power is the reason I decided to move South – so we could spend more quality time together.

If you ride, you get that.

So remember when you hit the road in the warmer weather: Please pay attention to the road. My fellow riders and I are out there trying to shake off the blues, or de-stress.

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Smitty, safely bundled up while being stored in my friend’s auto body shop in Bluffton. He added the “pigtails” to the mirrors to personify me! The employees are intrigued, I hear…😂

 

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“How old would you be…”

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Mark Twain knew his shit.

“...if you didn’t know how old you was?” ~Satchel Paige, American Baseball Player

Age is another concept that we like to think of as malleable … especially as we get older.

You’re only as old as you feel,” and “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” are two of the more common sayings we trot out to justify behavior that may be seen as immature.

But I’d argue that it is really just our normal, playful nature peeking out that our age and confidence allow us to act upon.

For some, that new behavior is encouraged. Others find themselves having to justify their “immature” behavior to family and friends who haven’t yet developed the self-confidence to buck the system, so to speak.

I think about these things when I go visit my Pepere in the nursing home. Ten years ago, he was adamant that he didn’t “want to live in a place with all old people because all they do is complain about their health.”

On March 24, he turns 98. In the last year, he has begun to show his age.

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My grandfather circa 1970 on my father’s motorcycle. Born to be weird.

But always, his brain is sharp, and he knows exactly what’s going on around him. “I thought you’d be long gone to South Carolina,” he said when I stopped in Sunday afternoon.

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Pepere admitted that he’d probably fall asleep during the big game. “Me too,” I replied (I did, BTW).

“I’m in no rush to go live with Mom and Dad,” I replied with a huge grin. He grinned back. “I understand,” he winked.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to go visit our elderly relatives because we don’t know what to talk about with them.

The truth is, they don’t care. Just be there to break up the monotony – it’s all any of us really wants.

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We did a lap!
Uncategorized

Crevice dwellers

IMG_20180131_192712746-01I was vacuuming today, and this tiny crevice dweller nearly broke me.

It was one of my dog’s treats.

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Tupper (1/13/10 – 12/6/17) the English bulldog was born in Boston and will be cheering on his home team this Sunday in the big game from his box seat OTRB.

He died unexpectedly on December 6, 2017. One moment he was sashaying around, as bulldogs do. The next, he slowly collapsed.

I was there. I was helpless.

If you’ve ever lost a dog or cat, you know what it’s like – you think you’ve moved on.

And then you find a crevice dweller and fresh grief washes over you. You never know when it’s going to hit.

I still haven’t washed my French bulldog, ToutDeSweet’s, favorite blanket.

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Toots (12/1/00 – 11/24/16) knew how to get comfortable better than any other dog I’ve ever had.

Memories of our four-legged family members are, thankfully, buried deeper than the occasional dog treat. Those memories aren’t going anywhere. I miss you guys. I can’t wait to see you again – in the meantime, have fun and try to get along. ❤️

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Qu’est Que C’est (1/14/02 – 7/28/17) looked deceptively sweet when sleeping. He was hell on wheels!
Uncategorized

I’m a Canuck (pronounced KUH-nook)

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The Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket. Opened in 1997.

Rhode Islanders don’t get out much. We (not-so-jokingly) say, “If I’m driving from Woonsocket to Westerly, I’d better pack an overnight bag!”

Woonsocket to Westerly is 57 miles.

“I’m not driving ALL THE WAY to Providence to go to a bar.”

It’s nine miles.

Leaving the state is challenging for Rhode Islanders because our roots are planted very deep. I’m the third generation of my family born in Woonsocket.

Woonsocket was known for its French Canadian population. We were a city of Canucks. But we don’t pronounce it like the hockey team. Or the rest of the world. We put the accent on the other syllable.

WOONSOCKET: KUH-nook

REST OF WORLD: kuh-NUCK

And yet, I’d never been to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, despite the fact that it’s housed in the former mill building my grandfather worked his whole life.

SPOILER ALERT: Tiny opted to stay in the car.

My overall impression was that it’s pretty cool. But you’ve got to give yourself a couple of hours. There are video exhibits that take some time. And I got to chatting with a couple of the very friendly and helpful volunteers. Who, as it turns out, are mothers of former high school classmates. Small world.

Go to the museum. See how my city was built. Throw a few bucks in the donation box. Check out the interesting books in the museum shop.

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Shocked to discover I’m not in this book…yet! Maybe next edition.

And, by the way, it’s “wuhn-SAH-kit” not “WOOOON-sock-it.” There, now you sound like one of us.