Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things that look used

“I like things that look used, especially when they were used by someone who matters to me.” – Gary Hager Does this raggedy raccoon look familiar?  If so, you may have seen him in this post.  Actually, I have pictures of him in any number of places; looking out the window of the Coast Starlight, …

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If you look close enough

“Even the most ordinary life is a mystery if you look close enough.” — Kennedy Fraser It seems to me one of the saddest aspects of modern culture that people get a lot of their reality from television shows.  Admittedly I know very little about it since I’ve shunned television for over 25 years now, but …

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The most effective technique

“People often ask me what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is–just be a little kinder.” — Aldous Huxley I thought quite awhile about Huxley’s conclusion, and I think it …

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The world’s largest collection

“I have the world’s largest collection of seashells.  I keep it on all the beaches of the world…perhaps you’ve seen it.” — Steven Wright I think one of the best traits we can develop is the capacity to thoroughly enjoy something without having to own it.  If you can master this skill, you can have …

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Other springs

When we began this endless trek, I feared I saw a darkened door, Through which a line of marching sick Were heading for some winter shore. But now the news the doctor brings Seems to promise other springs. — Jane Yolen One year ago today, Jeff went into the local emergency room with sudden, acute …

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A harmony in autumn

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” — Percy Bysshe Shelley If I was absolutely forced to choose a favorite season, it would be autumn.  Even its name is more …

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The gift of crisis

“You have been offered the gift of crisis.  As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift,” as in to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important.  That’s what crises do.  They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most.” …

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In the fall

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” ― Nora Ephron I love fall because it is connected with my happiest memories of childhood.  In particular, the onset of cooler …

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The people weeping

There is sobbing of the strong, And a pall upon the land; But the People in their weeping Bare the iron hand: Beware the People weeping When they bare the iron hand. — Herman Melville Almost all of us who are old enough to remember September 11, 2001, can describe where we were and what …

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When action grows unprofitable

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.” — Ursula K. Le Guin When I read this quote I liked it instantly.  As a librarian, I tend to prioritize information gathering over action, and action over sleep.  But Le Guin’s formula makes a lot of sense to me.  It’s very easy to get stuck …

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Inconceivable antiquity

“How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Ah, but Ralph, you say “inconceivable antiquity” like it’s a bad thing!  Some of us would like to think that nature is all the more appealing because of her longevity.  Perhaps the flowers are not …

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Persistent prayer

“The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will finally hear Him.” — William McGill It’s all too easy for believers and unbelievers alike to confuse prayer with some sort of divine bargaining system, or a kind of formal ritual for advising God what we need — as …

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I’ve tried

“I’ve tried talking to animals, but it’s no use – their minds are usually already made up.” —  Ashleigh Brilliant Since I’ve featured dogs, birds and other animals here, I thought it was about time to include a cat.  This is my sister’s cat, named Kit Kat after the cat we had as children. Kit …

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What really knocks me out

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” — J. D. Salinger Who comes to mind when you read this quote?  …

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The greater part

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our …

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Sowing a seed

You never can tell when you do an act Just what the result will be; But with every deed you are sowing a seed, Though the harvest you may not see. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox It’s not surprising that several research studies document the benefits of volunteering to help others, whether formally or informally.  While …

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Enter this wild wood

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs No school of long experience, that the world Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood And view the haunts of nature…  — William Cullen Bryant The poem from …

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It all depends

“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?” “I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.” “Depends on what?” “On whether I’m on …

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For this I was born

“I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!” — Joan of Arc “If Joan of Arc could turn the …

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Do not cease to play

“We do not cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play.” — George Bernard Shaw Everybody who needs more fun time, raise your hands.  OK, that’s settled…we need to make more time  for play! Of course, when I say “play” I’m not talking about watching TV, or even playing “Angry …

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The perturbing mystery

“The butterfly’s attractiveness derives not only from colors and symmetry:  deeper motives contribute to it.  We would not think them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter …

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Estimating our limits

“How many ships didn’t sail because of the belief that the earth was flat? How much progress was impeded because man wasn’t supposed to breathe underwater, fly through the air, or venture into outer space? Historically, we’ve done a remarkably poor job of estimating our limits.” — Gary Keller Okay, so the skeptical cynic in …

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The greatness of a nation

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” —  Mahatma Gandhi While Matt was at Ride a Wave in Santa Cruz, a fascinating drama was unfolding on the beach nearby, where a stranded seal pup was being rescued.  I watched as workers carefully manipulated the net …

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No such thing

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.”  — Robert Brault One of the great blessings to come from this blog has been the ongoing task of reading many wise and inspiring words from all sorts of people, all over the world, from the earliest recorded eras up …

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The most powerful drug

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ― Rudyard Kipling I don’t remember when I first realized that not everyone was as fascinated by words as I am, but it’s something that I still don’t fully understand.  I have always been so drawn to words; their meaning, their rhythms and sounds, the …

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