#CarpeDiem …. but I’m gonna need a little help.

Adding to the normal rendition of carpe diem, i.e., seize the day, I like the literal Latin which translates “pluck the day”.  (This is one time I will choose to trust the internet, since I don’t speak Latin.)  I rather like that.  It makes me think of picking apples when they’re ripe to use for homemade pie, or apple sauce, or just plain good snacking.  That is, opposed to letting them fall to the ground and rot.  The apples won’t wait forever to be eaten, so best to pluck while the pluckin’s good.

Opportunities—same way.  Most adults can pretty well relate to that.  But here’s one opportunity that challenges me…constantly. 

Like most working people, I live out of what my brother-in-law calls “two buckets”.  There’s the work bucket, my paying job that helps keep food on the table and clothes on our backs.  Then when I get home, I have other jobs, you know, shopping to keep the food coming and laundry to keep those clothes clean, all that.   Adult life is a life of responsibilities, some of which are chosen, some perhaps not.  Then there’s the fun bucket.  Not much definition needed for this one.  Whether it’s taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon, riding my bike, watching a movie on TV, or a full blown vacation in the Rockies, it matters not—it’s all about one’s own definition.

Now, the really fortunate people (and I suspect they are pretty rare) have these buckets mystically combined, or else the buckets constantly slosh over into each other with no change in water quality.  At this moment in time for me, that is not the case. 

Back to the challenge: I can either fuss about getting water-logged with prune-y skin while treading to keep my nose above sea level in the work bucket, OR I can intentionally ladle some of the fun bucket over…every day. 

So…..

I decided to declare my own celebration for each day of the traditional work week.  Check out my personal festivities at the Carpe Diem/Pluck the Day category, and please share some that you come up with as well.  That way maybe we can splash some fun into each other’s work buckets!

Thanks for reading………..dawnlizjones

Advertisements

Carpe Diem (yes! Again!)

Photo: pixabay
Photo: pixabay

A reminder!  TGIT – Thank God It’s #Tuesday!  Check out category #carpediem  Lots of stuff to be thankful for today!  Add your list to mine.

#Carpediem — #Monday is #Professional Day!

My labcoat, but adorned with my father's old RCA pocket protector, circa 1960's.
My labcoat, but adorned with my father’s old RCA pocket protector, circa 1960’s.

Alarm goes off, hit the snooze button a half dozen times, pry the eyes open, and dump your dragging self into the shower.  Those of us who live out of two separate buckets (as explained in the Carpe Diem intro) know the routine.  Waking up after the second cup of java, we arrive at work feeling like there’s a mountain ahead of us and today is just the first step.  Whether the day planner is full or empty isn’t the point.  The point is that we would definitely prefer to be somewhere else.

This is where you have to grab the Monday-monster by the neck (to use a socially acceptable metaphor) by celebrating your profession—some way, any way! Creatively let the world know what you do and that what you do is of worth to the world.  And it helps to give yourself permission to be a little (or a lot) off the wall in the way you do it. 

Currently, I’m a public school nurse at a small town middle school.  I love my kids, my faculty, and it’s the best job I’ve EVER had, hands down.  But I still have emotional challenges—like if I had to choose between being in my office, or holding my new granddaughter,… c’mon.  So on Mondays I decided to wear a real nursing uniform instead of regular “non-medical” threads.  Not the white polyester we had back in 70’s with a little white cap (oh, puhLEEZE!!), but good old scrubs, and a white lab coat to complete the ensemble.  Interestingly, one of my students remarked, “Hey! You look like a nurse!”  (Why didn’t I think of this sooner??) 

Little things will do, too, even something that’s a bit of a secret just with you.  Employed at Mickie D’s? Tip your hat to every customer on Monday. (THAT will get your supervisor’s attention.)  A dentist?  Let your adult customers pick something out of the children’s “treasure chest”, just like when they were kids.  Stay-at-home mom (arguably one of the most challenging professions in the universe)?  Make Monday your “visit the nursing home day”.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t know anyone there; you soon will, and so will your children.  (Trust me on that one.)

When you hit the snooze button the last time, remember to celebrate Monday as “Professional Day”, and stir in a little fun  with the work bucket.

—dawnlizjones

#Carpediem — T.G.I.T #Tuesday!

Thank God It’s Tuesday (a.k.a. TGIT)!  Reasons why it’s important to celebrate Tuesday:

  1. I made it through Monday. Not something to be taken for granted…
  2. Hmmm….okay, granted I’m having a little trouble with a second reason, but I just know it’s there somewhere.

Wednesday is celebrated as “hump day” since we’re getting over the hump on the downward slide to Friday, I guess.  Thursday is sooooo close to Friday, and Friday is, well, Friday.

Honestly, I do believe that it’s pretty bohemian, (which is Wednesday’s celebration, BTW), to celebrate Tuesday in its own right.  Poor Tuesday gets terribly neglected, but when considered in a decent perspective, it offers just as many blessings (albeit some disguised and in need of creative definition) as Friday.  Here’s how I celebrate Tuesdays (so far, but open to further suggestions):

I start of every Tuesday morning with an activity I genuinely look forward to—I sit down with my pot of steaming tea, and writing in a journal that is specifically for Tuesdays.  It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like, or how busy the day is about to become, or the number of things-I-don’t-want-to-do on my burgeoning to-do list. 

It’s 15 to 30 minutes of splashing around in the Fun Bucket before diving head first into the Work Bucket.  And very much worth celebrating.

Here’s to a carpe diem start to your Tuesday!—-dawnlizjones

 

#bohemian #Tuesday

#carpediem — #Wednesday is #Bohemian Day!

Yea!  It’s Bohemian Day!

Wednesday isn’t just “hey-we-got-over-the-hump” day.  It’s a day to celebrate all those people that march to the beat of a different djembe.  Or to take time and relish those off the wall dreams and ideas, you know, like Orville and Wilbur’s flying machine.  A day to contemplate where we’d be without the courage of Tiananman Square or the creativity of a moving, talking, whistling mouse on the big silver screen.  Or that stupid idiot that stood out in the thunder and lightning flying a kite with a key attached (don’t try that one at home).

Here’s one.  For a Christmas present this year, my daughter Robin enrolled me in a really crazy idea dreamed up and administrated by a pretty fun person.  The crazy idea is called Hobby Club and is made up of an internet community of people who are introduced to a new hobby to try out every month.  The fun person in charge is the visionary of the project, Tyler Riewer, who chooses these new challenges each week to match the theme of the month.  February is deemed “The Old Fashioned Way”, and so far we’ve tried our hands to homemade butter, next is some way-out homemade brew that rivals a cure to the common cold (at least in taste, I expect),  and we will crown the month with backyard moonshine.  Knowing my less than stellar success with fermentation experiments, I probably should check the batteries in the smoke alarms….

Bohemians abound throughout history: people who imagined little bugs that couldn’t be seen, so they invented a microscope to prove their existance.  Or the guys who challenged the accepted, scientific “fact”  that if you sailed far enough you drop off the planet. Then, of course, there were those dreamer Orville and Wilbur–would you believe that originally they owned a bicycle repair shop?  So, thank you once again, Mr. Riewer, and I salute you as my bohemian this week!  My butter tasted, well, not quite entirely like butter, more like a palatable paste, but yummy nonetheless.

And equal salute to all the dreamers and visionaries and creative thinkers and doers.  You are worth celebrating every week!    ———-dawnlizjones

#Carpediem — #Thursday is #Chocolate Day!

Starts innocently enough like this....
Starts innocently enough like this….

Made it to Thursday?  Of course you did!  If so far you’ve celebrated your profession (Monday), counted the ways to be thankful that it’s Tuesday, honored your fave bohemian—person and/or idea—(Wednesday), then you certainly deserve Thursday’s gig, which is…wait for it….

*****CHOCOLATE DAY!*****

IMG_20150205_134722806

One of my friends, knowing my penchant for celebrating the days of the work week by my choice of clothing in keeping with the day’s theme, asked if I wear brown on Thursday.  

“No”, said I, “I eat chocolate.”

(Granted, any reason for eating chocolate seems like a good reason.)

ENDS LIKE THIS....
ENDS LIKE THIS….

So celebrate it any way you like, but Thursday is the day to remember all those people/things/events that SWEETEN your life.   Who and/or what are you remembering today, in honor of Chocolate Day, that is…!! —-dawnlizjones

#Carpediem — #Friday is Blue #Denim Day!

Seriously, very few people have trouble celebrating Friday, at least in our part of the planet.  It’s kinda like not looking forward to spring break, summer vacation, or snow days (as if you can’t tell I work in the educational system…) 

But there’s really more to Friday then just waiting for the clock to say “quitting time”.  Friday is officially Blue Denim Day!  Think of it—what other material is as strong, as well as versatile, as good ole’ American blue denim?

That’s why Friday is the day to accentuate, appreciate, and otherwise celebrate those people, ideas, and activities that bring durability and stability to our lives…

…as well as to be one of those people!

If you’re celebrating Blue Denim Day, tell me how…  —dawnlizjones

For the #educators in your life!

wood-695117_1280

Many years ago while traveling in the backcountry of Baja I learned an important lesson that I have carried with me ever since.

Several of us were on a fishing adventure slowly making our way down the old Mexican 1 which serpentines it’s way along the backbone of this wild peninsula. We were in the middle of one of the loneness and driest places on earth, the Vizcaino Desert, when I felt a hard jolt followed by a loud clanging. My jeep coasted to a halt next to a large Boogun tree, engine still running. My son, Sam, ran up the dusty road and retrieved the driveshaft. It is amazing at how quiet and empty the desert can feel when you are broken down in the middle of it.

After a little trouble-shooting we figured that we could limp back to the village of Catavina some miles away by engaging the 4WD, which still transferred power to the front wheels. And so we began a long and tedious trek back to that little pueblo.

Upon arriving, we searched for a mechanic to help us. Actually, this place had more abandoned dwellings than occupied. But as luck would have it we found a guy who had ran out of money and was stranded there waiting for an opportunity to continue his journey North and he was a mechanic—only in Mexico.

Julio examined the shaft by rolling it on the crumbling pavement of an old abandoned gas station to check its trueness. I remember looking at a peeling mural of a map of the peninsula with a star marking our location. We were a long ways from home. The station had shut down years before for lack of traffic. Since its closure, the only fuel available was gotten from fifty-gallon drums strained through a chamois. My attention went back to Julio, who was shaking his head while examining the broken strap. We would not be traveling far without a new one.

I began to worry when he shaded his eyes from the intense Baja sun and scanned the surrounding desert. Without a word, he abruptly left us and carefully picked his way through the cacti toward a line of wrecked vehicles. I watched him disappear underneath a rusting Chevy pickup with a cholla growing up through its missing hood.

MVC-006F

Upon returning, he told me he needed 80 pesos to pay the man who “owned” it. Sensing I did not understand, he explained that he would have to salvage the pin bearings from it and further he would need to buy a strap from another “owner” of an old Ford rusting on the other side of the road. He smiled sweeping his arms across the desert encompassing at least thirty old, rusting vehicles and said, “This is my parts department.” The parts he needed he would savage off these abandoned wrecks.

Without any further discussion, he began to work. Using the tools we always carried on these adventures and an old rickety jack, he worked for a couple hours in the sweltering heat. First he replaced each pin bearing one by one and than slowly jacked the shaft back up in place using a cradle he had made from pieces of wood he had sent the village children out to gather from along side the road.

By now we had attracted most of the villagers: us being the best entertainment in town. I remember my friend, Fritz, teaching the game of chess from the tailgate of his pickup.

I asked Julio at one point how he was going to balance the shaft so it would spin true when reconnected to the engine. He smiled as he propped one end on a rock and took a small hand sledge and carefully lifted it a few inches above and struck it. He did this a couple of times more with care and precision. When he finished, he proudly said, “Hecho en Mexico!” Made in Mexico!

I paid Julio less than a hundred dollars for the whole job, which got him on his way and us as well. We continued our journey south to explore many bays and beaches without names that fueled countless campfire stories to this day. Years later, I passed that jeep on to my son and it still runs and has never needed any modifications to Julio’s repairs.

When you leave the frontiers and venture down the back roads of Baja there is no Auto Club to call, no machine shops, no dealerships, or Auto Zones to stop at. You only have yourself and the kindness of strangers. These strangers, the locals, are geniuses at making do with what they have. They live by the adage that necessity is the mother of all invention. It is what surely attracts me to these lonely places over and over.

Being an educational leader in these times is not much different. We are bombarded with an endless stream of regulations and directives from the state and federal government that cost large sums of money to implement while we are asked to do it with less.

We find ourselves spending more and more time out of classrooms meeting the needs of outside bureaucrats who claim to have all of the answers. But when all is said and done, the solutions are in the talent we have all around us. The secret to our success is the same as Julio’s; use our own talent and ingenuity to solve the problem.

We need to invest in ourselves for a change. This of course, will not make the test making companies, “consultants,” textbook publishers, software designers and outside trainers very happy in their quest for billions of our tax dollars.

But in my experience, a good teacher who makes positive connections with children will out perform any program, any time. That is were I would put my money because I am used to betting on winners.

I already have what I need to continue to move MPH forward. I am proud to say I work with a cadre of world-class, talented and willing teachers and staff. We should never forget that our greatest resource is all around us—It is, us. “Hecho en Rim of the World!”