Sunday, November 26, 2023

Look up, look out . . . great advice

We can get so focused on what's going wrong in our lives, it can be hard to look away or step back. I don't know where I first heard this admonishment when I was feeling down, but it has served me well: Look up, look out. Very few troubles don't fade back into the right perspective if I can get out of my own head for a short time. Looking up as I take a deep breath almost always helps me. Yet it can take emotional energy to do so when I want only to wallow in my own interior issue.

One of the best things about the location of my retirement community is that it's a high-rise, and I have an apartment on the tenth floor of the twenty-four-story building. My vista overlooks comparatively low buildings, allowing me to see a huge expanse of sky. Long story short . . . it  has never been easier to look up and out. After sixteen months of living here, I still cannot believe how lucky I am to see this much sky from every room in my apartment. Even though the location of my former home was very near the Sammamish River, I didn't see much sky because of the trees along the riverbank. Yes, it was a gorgeous outlook, but I had to walk outside and step away from the building to see the sky. NOTHING like what I see now.

No, I don't see stars anymore and I miss them. City lights are too bright. But when it's dark outside, I can see the moon and the brighter planets (Jupiter and Venus) from my easy chair, at least when their trajectories are aligned with my outlook, and there are no clouds. I also can see airplanes on a flight path that's frequently directly overhead. During the day I frequently seeing crows and seagulls flying on the same level  I'm standing while gazing out my windows. But the best view is just the enormous expanse of sky, especially at dawn. 

With the recent change to standard time, sunrise has become the highlight of own entry to each day. I'm still groggy from a my nightlong sleep when I round the corner to my combo living room/kitchen to be greeted by beginnings of morning light.   

How can a person be in a bad mood when the day starts this way? Yes, I look up and out every day in my apartment and feel fortunate to have the opportunity.

I have dozens of sky pictures, many taken during other parts of the day, too. I've just picked three sunrise shots to share. I sit at the table in the morning by the window and just stare as long as I want into the changing light. Even on heavily clouded days there are often color stripes that leak into the clouds through the rain. No wonder we imagine heaven being above us when we look up at such beauty.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Time to watch ice melt? Not lately

Today I was looking over the statistics on my blog to see if anyone is reading it. I can't tell who reads it, but I can see how many read a particular post on a given day or month and cumulatively how many pairs of eyes have seen it over its published lifetime. I'm impressed when I see the total number of published posts: 523 (since late 2009) and 397,830 overall views. That sounds more impressive than it is because judging from the world map of where viewers live, a great many are in countries that would have NO interest whatsoever in this drivel. However, based on some of the advertising comments that I routinely remove, my blog is interesting to readers for a lot of "wrong reasons," some of which--no doubt--could even be evil.
In the process of cleaning up stuff today, I found a few posts that never left their 'draft stage,' just hiding away waiting to be released by me for my readers. I'm deleting most of them, but I decided to share this one. If nothing else, it reminds us of the little things in life, and speaks to how I spent my time during Covid-shutdown. 

I am so grateful I can again go to the theatre and music performances, museums and shops. Thinking about having time to watch bubbles rise from hard-boiled eggs as ice melts is almost incomprehensible now. But it is also a lesson in the wonder that awaits us if we really look at what's around us

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I always chill my hard boiled eggs as soon as I take them off the burner. I am under the impression they will be easier to peel if they cool fast. Someone told me that years ago--maybe in high school. And I've always believed it.

To prove it's true would mean a scientific approach. I would have to cool half the batch slowly and other half with ice, then label the two batches, and pay attention when I finally turn them into deviled eggs (as these are destined to become), but that would be too much trouble for this old woman. I always just trust that advice and have a bowl of ice ready to dump into the pan as soon as I pour off the boiling water.

Today after I dumped ice into the pan, I noticed how pretty the ice was as it was melting. It was almost sparkling, so out came my cellphone and I shot pictures. An idle day, apparently, to have time for such silliness. But it's fun to look down and see the hard boiled eggs beneath the ice. I actually recorded several videos to bring into this post, too, but the videos refuse to be shared. I loved seeing the little bubbles of air escaping the eggs as the icy water cools them. It became a meditative experience--calming, actually--gazing at the patterns of bubbles.