Lifelong Learning

I am a lifelong learner.  I embrace the label with pride.reading

It’s true that I already know a LOT of things, but I always want to learn more.  Always.  I love to cross paths with someone who knows a lot about something and is willing to share their knowledge.  I sidle up to them, ask an engaging question or two, and away we go.  I walk away knowing how to make really good beef jerky,  press flowers, or create my own board game.  Good stuff.

I am continually seeking out new things to learn about.  This year’s topic is Beekeeping.  I want to have bees, so I am about to learn all there is to know about the ancient art of beekeeping.  I can hardly wait!  So far I have learned that bees are sold by the pound and you have to order them in January, that there are different species of honeybees, and that the wooden box that organizes them all is called a Super.  As I type this, I am sitting here grinning like an idiot.  Bees are sold by the pound?  Who knew?

Being a true lifelong learner means you’ll NEVER be bored.  Never. There is always something more to learn in the world. Think you know all there is to know about breadmaking?  Have you looked into sourdough?  Or breads from other countries, like Naan or Pita?  You’re right, that is a Good Question. How DO they make pita bread hollow?

True to form, I’ve learned some things about lifelong learning that I can pass along–in case you are thinking the life of a lifelong learner sounds pretty fantastic  (You’d be right, by the way.)

First, other people will find you very interesting when they discover that you are interested in what they find interesting. (Go ahead and take a second to re-read that.  It’s a bit tricky.)  Norman Vincent Peale knew this.  Ask people about themselves and what they love to do, and soon they will be going on and on and they will come away from conversation thinking you are amazing.  So that’s cool.

Second:  Everyone is interesting if you just dig deep enough.  When I am stuck somewhere with someone I don’t know, I use this as a great way to pass the time.  I just keep asking cheerful questions and soon enough we’re talking about the merits of worms versus spinners when catching perch in Idaho lakes. Never fails.

Third: The glorious, wonderful Internet was made for Lifelong Learners.  We don’t mind if the rest of you come and use it, but we KNOW it was made for us.  Lifelong Learners are the ones who relish its true glory and bounty.  I can learn how to do anything on the Internet now.  Origami? Photography? Knitting? Blogging?  Yup.  It’s all there.

So come join the fun.  Forget the same old same old. Let’s learn something new.

It’ll be fun–I promise.






Christmas Stars


Usually I make cookies and candies for Christmas, arranged on cute plates and delivered on the 23rd.

But this year, I just couldn’t do it.  My beloved, adored Dad passed away quite suddenly last March, and I was finding that the holiday season is, indeed, very hard when you are grieving the loss of someone you love.

I’d think about starting the cookie process, and then I’d think about my dad coming by and sneaking a cookie…ok, two…from the cheerfully frosted piles, and I’d be reaching for the nearest tissue, or t-shirt hem, or pillowcase to dry my eyes.  And, well, I just couldn’t.  Every cookie I frosted would be accompanied by tears.  Not what I needed at all.

Then I happened on some instructions for these stars.  I thought I’d try one with a piece of colorful paper.  It was so cute, charming, and happy, that I was compelled to make more.  I would make stars to give away instead of cookies.

I have a large selection of fancy scrapbook papers, given to me by a friend.   Each star took two pieces of the paper, and once I got the hang of it, they went together pretty quickly.

They are rather large and quite sturdy.  They consist of basically two 4-pointed origami stars hot glued together with a loop of something on one point to make it easy to hang.  I made the first 6 or so and was thrilled.  Soon I was making more and more.

And then I began taking them to my friends.  I carried them around in the back of the Jeep, inviting the recipient to come out and pick the one they liked.  The sight of all those stars, piled together, brought a smile to everyone’s face, and I helped them paw through the assortment to find the one that spoke to them.  “Oh, this one,” said a good friend, and I responded, “I knew when I made that one that it was for you.”  Which was true.  Other times I was surprised.  “Oh, I found the one,” said another friend, who had recently married her partner. “She likes purple and I like green.”  And, sure enough, there was a star with loops of purple and green that I hadn’t really noticed before, although I obviously had made it.  Go figure.

As my selection ran low, I’d whip out the glue gun and make more stars.  I delivered and delivered and delivered.  I could afford to be generous, since I could easily create more.    “I have enough stars for you and your wonderful daughters to each get one,” I told a friend, and 4 stars got a new home.  Then I went home to fold, cut, and glue some more. The count holds at 70 right now.

I found a few that I loved best of all, and those I kept.  I made a string of smaller stars that may become a garland next year.  My darling daughter, home from college, got a cheerful yellow star and another in her school’s colors of blue and white.

I ran out of time and days before Christmas, so I am still delivering stars.  And unlike with stale plates of cookies, nobody seems to mind getting a star a few days late.  I love seeing friends post the pics of their stars, hanging in their homes, on their trees, in their windows. I still have stars yet to deliver, to be honest.

But there’s a bit more to tell you.  The stars hold a secret I have not told anyone.  Until now.

I found the year 2016 to be hard.  I miss my Dad every…single…day.  My best friend/daughter went away to college, and I am NOT enamored of the empty nest she left behind.  I sustained an injury to my neck last summer that left me in pain for weeks,  working hard through physical therapy to make things right.  And then I had a biopsy (benign, thank the Lord) that became infected so badly I was on daily IV antibiotic treatments for 3 weeks.

And don’t talk to me about the election, please.

I am a cheerful, optimistic person.  I hate being sad.  And this year has made me sad, over and over and over.

The best part of 2016 has been my friends,neighbors, and relatives.  They have come through for me time and again, reaching out, giving me deep hugs, letting me cry, asking how I am doing, smiling at me, holding my hand, and just being there.

All of you. You have brightened my life in small ways that have meant a great deal to me. As I delivered each star, as I watched you pick from the selection of colored wonder, as I stood there grinning as you took your time choosing, I was thinking:

You are my star.

I am so very, very lucky to have your light shining onto my life.